The latest local news

Man dies trying to save girl swept into Lake Michigan, police say

WQAD News -

CHICAGO — A man died Thursday trying to save an 11-year-old girl who was swept into Lake Michigan while standing on a cement break wall, police said.

The 35-year-old man jumped in and tried to reach the girl, but ended up sinking in the choppy, churning water. According to fire department officials, he was underwater for about four minutes.

Witnesses said several lifeguards rushed in and pulled the man and the girl out. WLS-TV identified the man as Renee Padilla.

After lifeguards administered CPR, Padilla and the girl were taken in an ambulance to Mercy Hospital. Padilla was taken in “extremely critical” condition and died a short time later, WGN reports.

The girl has stabilized and is said to be in good condition.

Earlier in the day, a Beach Hazard Statement was issued for the Lake Michigan shoreline, warning that 3-to-6-foot waves and dangerous currents were expected.

"High wave action and dangerous swimming conditions will exist along the Lake Michigan beaches in Lake and Cook Counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter Counties in Indiana into Friday," according to the WGN weather department.

Hazardous conditions at Lake Michigan beaches will continue through Friday evening. https://t.co/p8bYSVSHhc

— Mike Janssen (@MikeJanssenWX) August 22, 2019

Lawyers seek psychiatric exam for man charged in Ole Miss student death

WQAD News -

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Lawyers for a man charged with killing a University of Mississippi student withdrew their request Thursday for a judge to set bail, instead seeking a psychiatric evaluation.

Defense lawyer Tony Farese said after the brief hearing that lawyers had obtained new information Wednesday about Brandon Theesfeld.

The Fort Worth, Texas man is charged with murder in the death of 21-year-old Alexandria "Ally" Kostial of Kirkwood, Missouri.

"We received some new information," Farese told The Oxford Eagle after the hearing. "We reviewed that information with Brandon, his family and the defense team. It was our collective decision that it was in Brandon's best interest to withdraw a request for a bond at this time."

Kostial's body was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds July 20 near a lake about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the university's campus in Oxford.

A judge told defense lawyers and prosecutors to work out a proposed order for an evaluation at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield. Farese noted such exams have required long waits in the past. However, waits have decreased recently.

Theesfeld was also an Ole Miss student and has been suspended. He will remain jailed pending the evaluation at a secure facility at the mental hospital near Jackson.

Lafayette County District Attorney Ben Creekmore said prosecutors still plan to ask grand jurors to indict Theesfeld next week. Farese said Theesfeld would plead not guilty.

"The investigation, as far as I'm concerned, it's still on going. It's not completed," Creekmore said. "Hopefully, we will have enough to go ahead and present it to the grand jury next week."

A number of Kostial's friends protested outside the hearing Thursday, saying they were wearing pink because it was Kostial's favorite color.

Iowa teacher charged with sexually exploiting student

WQAD News -

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — A southeastern Iowa high school teacher has been arrested and charged with sexually exploiting a student at his school.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says in a news release that 33-year-old Eusebio Jimenez Jr. was charged Thursday with sexual exploitation by a school employee. Jimenez is a Spanish language teacher in the Columbus Community High School. Superintendent Gary Benda says Jimenez has been suspended pending the outcome of his criminal case.

Jimenez was booked into the Louisa County Jail; a person who answered the phone at the jail Thursday afternoon said Jimenez was in the process of being released on $5,000 cash bond. It was not clear whether Jimenez had an attorney.

Investigators say an underage student reported in November that he had been sexually exploited by Jimenez.

Jimenez was formerly a Davenport elementary school teacher, but resigned after an assault arrest three years ago.

FBI takes down Nigerian fraudsters targeting women worldwide in $46M case

WQAD News -

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The relationship between a Japanese woman and a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria started online, through an international social network for digital pen pals. It grew into an internet romance over 10 months of daily emails.

It ended with the woman $200,000 poorer and on the verge of bankruptcy after borrowing money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Capt. Terry Garcia with his plan to smuggle diamonds out of Syria.

In reality, there were no diamonds and there was no Garcia — they were part of an elaborate scam hatched by an international ring of cyber thieves operating mainly out of Los Angeles and Nigeria.

Federal authorities cited the case of the Japanese woman, known only as "F.K." in court papers, on Thursday when they announced an indictment charging 80 people with stealing at least $46 million through various schemes that targeted businesses, the elderly and anyone susceptible to a romance scam. Most of the defendants are Nigerians.

"We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history," U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. "We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks."

The investigation began in 2016 with a single bank account and one victim, said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office. It grew to encompass victims who were targeted in the U.S. and around the world, some of whom like the Japanese woman lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses," the federal complaint states. "She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her."

Her relationship began innocently in March 2016 with an email but soon "Garcia" made "romantic overtures," according to federal authorities. He told her they couldn't talk by phone because he wasn't allowed to use one in Syria.

So a stream of emails went back and worth, with her using Google to translate his English into her Japanese. A month into the relationship, Garcia told her he'd found a bag of diamonds in Syria and he began introducing her to his associates, starting with a Red Cross representative who told her Garcia had been injured but had given him the box.

F.K. ultimately made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S., Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain's many purported associates.

The fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she traveled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.

Authorities arrested 14 defendants Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area. FBI agents could be seen processing suspects in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot before they were arraigned in federal court. It was not immediately known if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Two suspects were previously in custody and a few others were arrested earlier this week. Hanna said he hoped to be able to work with foreign governments to extradite the remaining defendants.

They all face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, and some are charged with additional offenses for alleged fraud and money laundering.

7 sent to hospital after smoke fills cabin of Hawaii flight

WQAD News -

HONOLULU (AP) — Seven people were taken to the hospital Thursday after smoke filled the cabin of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from California to Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines says 184 passengers and seven crew members used evacuation slides to get off the plane after it declared an in-flight emergency and landed in Honolulu.

Jon Snook, Hawaiian Airlines chief operating officer, said smoke was first detected on Hawaiian Airlines Flight 47 from Oakland, California, about 20 minutes prior to landing as the plane began to descend.

American Medical Response spokesman James Ireland said a total of 11 patients had breathing complaints and seven were taken to the hospital with respiratory problems.

Ireland said the youngest patient taken to the hospital was a 9-month-old. He said another older child was also taken to the hospital and the rest were adults. All injuries were considered minor.

One person was examined at the scene for injuries sustained during the evacuation.

Snook said there was visible smoke in the cabin and a smoke indication in the cargo hold set off a warning in the cockpit, which prompted the emergency landing. He said there were no visible flames anywhere on the plane.

An automatic fire suppression system was activated in the cargo hold, Snook said.

He said smoke was still prevalent in the cabin after the plane landed, which is why the passengers were ordered to use the slides to evacuate the aircraft.

Shuttles took passengers, who left their luggage behind, to a staging area at the airport. Snook said Hawaiian Airlines is refunding passengers for the cost of their round trip tickets and will give passengers a voucher for future travel.

"It's going to take a little bit of time to get the bags released from the aircraft, obviously we want to be sure that we understand what the source of the smoke was and one possibility of course is that the bags may have been a source," Snook said. "We have no evidence to suggest that right now but we want to be cautious about taking the bags off."

Snook thanked the crew and passengers for evacuating in an orderly way "in what could have been a complex and dangerous situation."

Snook said the National Transportation Safety Board will be notified and conduct an investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration will also investigate, said spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

Firefighters said it took the passengers just 30 to 45 seconds to exit the aircraft. A few had only minor bruises from coming down the slides, said Glenn Mitchell, the airport's fire chief.

Week 1 of The Score Pre-Game Pep Rally takes us to Sherrard

WQAD News -

SHERRARD, Illinois-- It's hard to believe the high school football season is almost here, as the majority of our area teams take the field Friday, August 30th. With the season starting, that also means the Good Morning Quad Cities' crew is ready for a new season of The Score Pre-Game Pep Rally.

August 30th, we're heading to Sherrard High School, home of the Tigers. The team takes on Rockridge High School later that night, at Sherrard High School. The game starts at 7 p.m.

We need the students, band, and cheerleaders at the school at 5:30 a.m. Friday. If you want to get there as early as 5 a.m., go for it! Parents and community members are invited to come out as well. The football team is not needed.

We'll be broadcasting live starting at 5 a.m. Our coverage goes until 7 a.m. Our pep rally is being sponsored by 1st Community Bank.

NEW THIS YEAR: We want students to show off any unique talents that they have. If you can do anything acrobatic or unique, (ie. back flips, you can do a rubik's cube really fast, or you can say the alphabet really fast backwards) we want to know about it. Maybe we'll show you off on the air Friday morning.

We are super excited to come to Sherrard! We've never been there before. It's hard to believe this will be the FIFTH year we've done the pep rallies. To see our the very first one Meteorologist Eric Sorensen did, click on the link here. 

Apple wants people to know how to clean its new titanium credit card

WQAD News -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple believes some of its zealous customers will treasure its new titanium credit card so much that they will spend time polishing its white finish.

That's why Apple has posted instructions on how to clean the card properly and warned that some materials might leave blemishes that are difficult to remove.

The list of potential hazards includes leather and denim, prompting some people to conclude Apple's credit card is so special that it can't be stored in the wallets and pockets where most other credit cards reside.

But the company says it merely wants people to know that the dyes used in some types of leather and denim can leave stains. Those discoloring marks are unlikely in most kinds of wallets and jeans, something Apple alluded to in its post by advising that the card can be kept in a wallet or pocket made of "soft materials."

The reverence Apple seemed to be according its card triggered widespread derision on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.

"Do not look directly at Apple Card," Alex Stamos, a former top security executive at Yahoo and Facebook, mocked in a tweet late Wednesday . "Do not speak to Apple Card. Do not denigrate Apple Card in Its Holy Presence."

In reality, Apple's cleaning instructions for the card mirrors the same practice it applies for its iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, ear buds and all other physical products. But while it's common for people to clean those devices, few consumers spend time sprucing up their credits cards.

Apple describes a two-step cleaning process involving microfiber cloths and isopropyl alcohol and includes a list of inappropriate cleaners. The instructions also warn against touching another credit card or "potentially abrasive objects" like coins or keys.

The Apple Card, announced in March in partnership with Goldman Sachs, started rolling out in the U.S. this month. Though industry experts say the card's financial benefits mirror many of those already out there for consumers, Apple is positioning it as a refreshing change from the thousands of other credit cards that have been available for decades.

In one of the biggest differences, the card is designed to be primarily used with the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch. But at retail stores, that requires merchants to accept Apple Pay. Apple and Goldman Sachs are giving people the option of a physical card to use when Apple Pay isn't an option.

The card is made of titanium and a sleek white finish to give it added flair and prestige. It's a strategy that has worked well for other high-end cards made of metallic alloys, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card .

As part of its effort to keep its new credit card customers happy, Apple is offering to replace any card that loses its sheen, at no extra charge.

 

‘Lady and the Tramp’ star is Monte, a 2-year-old rescue dog from Arizona

WQAD News -

(CNN) -- An Arizona rescue dog will make his film debut in Disney's live-action remake of "Lady and the Tramp." And he certainly looks the part.

Monte, a 2-year-old terrier mix, will play the titular Tramp in the film, set to premiere on the Disney+ streaming service when it launches in the US on November 12, CNN affiliate KTVK reported.

The pup was sent from a municipal shelter in New Mexico to Phoenix's HALO Animal Rescue in April 2018. Monte was beloved among staffers for his good behavior and sloppy wet kisses, shelter CEO Heather Allen told KTVK.

Monte was scouted by a group of Hollywood animal trainers, she said, one of whom adopted the affable canine.

Despite his recent foray into film, Allen said Monte still enjoys a happy, normal life.

His "Tramp" is voiced by noted dog lover Justin Theroux. A cocker spaniel named Rose will play Lady, Tramp's spaghetti-sharing love interest, with voiceover from Tessa Thompson, according to Disney.

D23, Disney's official fan club, said the entire cast of rescue dogs found "forever homes" after filming ended.

YOUR MONEY with Mark: Are we nearing a recession?

WQAD News -

WYOMING- Federal reserve chairman Jerome Powell steps into the spotlight Friday, August 23rd.

He's addressing The Fed's annual economic symposium. Powell says his main task is to keep markets calm and lessen fears of a U.S. slowdown.

It comes after President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, August 22nd about the economy doing well. President Trump wants The Fed to cut interest rates, tweeting that the move could "Let America win big, rather than just win."

Many analysts believe Powell will continue his message that The Fed is working to stay flexible while dealing with increased uncertainty, and it will keep tabs on the impact President Trump's trade war is having on the U.S. economy.

So is the U.S. heading into a recession? We'll ask that question to Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski Monday, August 26. His answer and the current outlook on the economy are coming up Friday. Your Money with Mark airs every Monday in between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on Good Morning Quad Cities. To live stream our newscast, click here. 

Davenport leaders encourage participation in 2020 census

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, IOWA  -- With more than 600 billion dollars in federal funding up for grabs, every person counts in next year's census. But, there's been some worry after President Trump tried adding a citizenship question. Davenport leaders are doing what they can to ease that fear.

"You`re safe to fill out the census form no matter what your racial or ethnic group is," Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said. "Everybody is treated equally and we need to make sure that everybody is counted."

Humility Homes and Services, Inc., One Eighty, Ecumenical Housing Development Group, Café on Vine, and Project Renewal, partnered with the Doris and Victor Day Foundation, the City of Davenport, Scott County, and the US Census Bureau to host a community block party to encourage residents to participate in the census.

Mayor Klipsch said making sure everyone is accounted for is crucial for Davenport to get more Federal representation.

"The number of people in your community or in your area determine how many congressman you get at the federal level," he said.

The census counts how many people live in your home. It doesn't ask for everyone's name or social security number. It's just a head count.

"Count them all," Mayor Klipsch said. "If they live with you, count them all at that address. It does make a difference in our community.”

How much federal money each city gets is based on the amount of people that live there. The money distributed to each city can go to any federally funded program, like FEMA and schools.

"We've had some challenges with people concerned with immigration," Mayor Klipsch said. "The fact is, there is no tie with immigration to the people taking the census. It's just a count.”

"I think people are scared," Davenport resident Lupe Serrano said. "Especially the migrant, if they feel that they wouldn’t want to admit they are here. It could be kind of hard for them, especially how they are treating them now."

The Government will give out more than 600 billion dollars based on the results of the census. Census forms and census takers will begin heading out at the first of the year in 2020. Census Day is April 1, 2020.

"We just have to make sure everyone is fairly treated and have all the resources they need no matter where they came from," Mayor Klipsch said.

The census is also hiring more than 1,000 census takers for the city of Davenport. They will pay $15 an hour.

 

Gun violence prompts leaders to dismantle basketball hoops at Rock Island park

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - The basketball hoops have been temporarily dismantled at Lincoln Park in Rock Island following concerns over crime and violence.

The city's Executive Director of Parks and Recreation John Gripp said the basketball court attracts crowds who are bringing outside tensions with them into the park.

"What bothers me the most is that 80% - 90% of the people that are going there are following the rules, being respectful and being good citizens. We've got a small group that's ruining it for the bunch," said Gripp.

Gripp says the hoops have been dismantled as a temporary fix to the issues.

"We are currently working with the police department and the IT department, neighbors, and cameras are going to be an option that will be placed on the table," he said.

Gripp said police have upped patrols after a few instances of shots fired calls, fighting, and vulgar behavior at the park.

"For whatever reason, there’s conflict and its escalated to gun play and we’ve got to put a stop to it for now until we figure out a solution," he said.

Now, he hopes that the community can realize that it will take effort to come up with a permanent solution to this crime and violence in the neighborhood park.

Gripp said he has received backlash, but wants to be clear that his decision has nothing to do with race,  religion, or even the sport of basketball. He said it has to do with keeping the public safe.

"This is not a Rock Island problem, this is not a park problem, this is not a Quad City problem, this is a criminal problem and were not going to take it anymore," said Gripp.

Gripp said he recognizes that temporarily removing the hoops is an extreme measure, and that he is doing it for the safety of the public who use the park.

"The proximity of the schools is a major concern for us. 38th Street is very busy, Augustana is right across the way, Alleman Is right behind us and we have Long Fellow down the hill and they all surround the park," he said. "I have heard from several residents that have complained profusely about the problems with the basketball players and the groups that they attract."

Gripp said he hopes this can send a message to the criminals as well, and can help to push for more security measures to be put into place.

"Were not going to abandon parks, were not going to shut down facilities permanently because some idiots don’t know how to behave," said Gripp. "We are going put some things in place that will address the behavior and hold people accountable."

One idea that Gripp hopes to explore further is adding cameras to the park that will help identify criminals that need to be banned from the parks , or even arrested.

"That’s the direction we want to go. If you don’t know how to act at one of our facilities then we don’t welcome you and you can be arrested," said Gripp.

Gripp said there will be a meeting next week to discuss ways to help curb crime at area parks.

In the meantime, he said police will increase patrols at other neighborhood parks to ensure the problem crowds do not end up invading another area.

 

Trump forgives student loan debt for disabled vets

WQAD News -

(CNN) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will sign an executive action making student loan cancellation for disabled veterans automatic — about three months after 51 attorneys general urged the Department of Education to make the change.

“It is America who owes our heroes an extreme debt of gratitude,” Trump said, speaking at an American Veterans conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

He thanked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was present, for helping to implement a policy he joked that “nobody can complain about.”

Current law says that the government will discharge the student debt for any borrower who is “permanently and totally” disabled, but they had to submit an application.

In a letter sent to DeVos in May, the attorneys general called this approach “inadequate.” They found that just 9,000 of 42,000 eligible veterans had applied for the loan discharge as of April 2018. More than 25,000 of those service members were in default on their loan payments, the letter said.

The Department of Education said it would begin by notifying 25,000 eligible veterans. Veterans may have to pay taxes on the canceled debt, and will have 60 days to opt to decline the discharge after being notified.

In April 2018, the agency established a data matching process with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help make it easier for those applying for cancellation. Since then, more than $650 million in student loan relief was granted to more than 22,000 eligible veterans, the Department of Education said in a statement Wednesday.

During his speech, Trump also highlighted the steps his administration has taken to address veterans issues.

“One of the things we have done is you get that medical care quickly now,” Trump said. “You used to have to wait weeks and weeks and weeks and you don’t wait anymore.”

“People are really happy about it,” he added, referring to his support of veterans’ choice — a policy he signed into law last year that allows veterans to seek VA-funded care in the private sector under certain circumstances.

The President also touted his support of the VA Accountability Act, which he signed in 2017, and his administration’s efforts to address veterans’ suicide.

“After years of neglect, we’re fixing the heartbreaking failures from the last administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he said. “America must never abandon their heroes at their hour of need.”

Dead baby found in garbage bag in New Mexico may have been injected with heroin

WQAD News -

ALCALDE, N.M. – A newborn baby found dead inside a trash bag in New Mexico may have been injected with heroin, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

After getting a call from a New Mexico man concerned about the safety of his unborn son, officers went to the home where the mother was staying and found the dead child August 17, New Mexico State Police said in a news release.

The man had recently returned from a trip and noticed that his girlfriend no longer appeared to be pregnant. The father told investigators that the child’s mother is a regular heroin user and got high during the pregnancy, according to an affidavit.

According to the Journal, the father said that he’d been told his girlfriend was injecting the baby with heroin to stave off withdrawal symptoms.

Police spoke with the woman Friday after finding her living in a small camper trailer. She allegedly told officers the pain of childbirth caused her to lose consciousness, and she awoke to find the newborn unresponsive.

Responding officers noticed the “smell of death” and, after a search of the trailer, found the baby inside a black tote bag that was in a trash bag near the toilet.

An autopsy that will determine the cause and manner of the child’s death is pending. Police are waiting for those results before filing official charges.

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