The latest local news

Hawkeye football player’s song “We Wave”now a symbol of hope for families with sick kids

WQAD News -

IOWA CITY, Iowa-- This week the first official practices start for football players at the University of Iowa. But one athlete has been practicing something else during the off season. And his new skill is quickly becoming a symbol of hope for children fighting for their lives in the hospital.

"Walking out and hearing 70,000  people screaming; Back in Black playing; it's really special," remembers Iowa Hawkeye junior Dalles Jacobus.

Wearing that black and gold was something Jacobus was practically born to do. He was 6-months old when he first saw a game at Kinnick Stadium.

Now every Saturday during the fall, you can find him, number 66, defensive tackle. But during the off-season he's been practicing something else, the guitar.

It wasn't long after he wrote his first original song called We Wave, a song about a Hawkeye football tradition, The Wave.

"It's a unique moment in football where you get everybody to stop paying attention to football and wave to the children," says Jacobus.

At the end of the first quarter, players, coaches and fans all turn to greet patients watching from the Stead Family Children's Hospital.

Because of Dalles' song, he's heard from countless families saying his words and notes give them hope.

"There are some people that the song makes them feel really happy, and that’s awesome. And I've had families reaching out to me who lost a child, and they feel sad. Then there's families that hear this and feel hope. It felt good, I didn't realize the weight that the song carried," says Jacobus.

The next time he puts on that black and gold, song in his head, families in his heart, we will wave.

 

 

Intermittent stops start on Moline’s River Drive for I-74 construction

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois- Your commute may be affected as Moline announced traffic changes to River Drive for construction.

According to the city, on Tuesday, July 30, if the weather allows there will be intermittent stops for traffic on River Drive.

Construction Update: Moline
On Tues., July 30, weather permitting, there will be intermittent stops on River Dr near the I-74 ramps from 6:30 AM-12 PM to allow concrete trucks access to the construction site for a concrete pour. Please slow down and watch for flaggers! #QCtraffic pic.twitter.com/F12G2Us5qp

— I-74 River Bridge (@I74RiverBridge) July 29, 2019

The stops will be near the I-74 ramps from 6:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to allow concrete trucks access to the construction site.

Please slow down and watch for flaggers!

All one-person restrooms in Illinois are required to be gender-neutral under new law

WQAD News -

All one-person public bathrooms in Illinois must be labeled as gender-neutral under a law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed on Friday, July 26.

The legislation goes into effect on Jan. 1 and prohibits signs outside of one-person public restrooms from designating a specific gender, according to a report by Chicago Tribune. Unanimously approved in the Senate, the measure was approved by a 109-5 vote in the House earlier this spring.

“Making single-occupancy restrooms gender neutral is inclusive, but it also just makes sense,” Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake who sponsored the bill said in a statement, reported Chicago Tribune. “It’s a small change that will make a big impact for thousands of Illinoisans.”

The specific language of the bill states that “every single-occupancy restroom in a place of public accommodation or public building shall be identified as all-gender and designated for use by no more than one person at a time or for family or assisted use.” 

The law also requires every single-occupancy restroom to have exterior signage not indicating any specific gender.

In 2017, former Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law making it easier for people to change the sex on their birth certificates to better match their gender identity.

Sharks are no stranger to the Mississippi River

WQAD News -

Believe it or not, sharks are no stranger to the freshwaters of the Mississippi River, even as far north as Illinois!

Just ask the residents of Alton, Illinois located north of St. Louis. In 1937, two fishermen (pictured above) managed to capture a five-foot 84-pound bull shark. To say it was a surprise would be an understatement. How in the world did a shark end up this far north and so removed from the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic Ocean?

Scientists have been quick to point out that this particular species of shark has been able to adapt to living in freshwater environments, including rivers and lakes. Even with the absence of saltwater, these sharks are able to feed on whatever food source may be present, including fish of course. Other species, like the Great White Shark, can only survive in saltwater.

This isn't the furthest north these types of sharks are believed to have traveled. During the fall of 2005 bull shark teeth were found in Minnehaha Creek. Scientists concluded that these did indeed belong to a juvenile bull shark.

There are several theories as to why this type of shark may be migrating itself away from its natural habitat, which includes climate change. Other theories revolve around recent hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico contaminating areas near shore leaving the sharks to migrate further north to less-polluted waters. It's also thought that these sharks may be on the move to avoid other predators and give their young offspring a better chance of survival.

Ironically, the lifespan of bull sharks that live in freshwater is significantly shorter with an average lifespan of just four years.

I wouldn't worry too much about being bitten while in the Mississippi River though. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning! So, swim on Quad Cities! Nothing to fear here.

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

Did you get a call from the Henry County, IA Sheriff’s Department? It could be a scam

WQAD News -

HENRY COUNTY, Iowa — People in Henry County are being warned to be careful if they get a phone call that appears to come from the county sheriff’s department.

According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, reports of the scam started coming in on Monday, July 29.   Scammers were calling residents from a number that appeared to be coming from the sheriff’s department.  Scammers were using actual names of deputies from the department and asking victims to call them back on a different number.

“Please be aware of this scam,” said the statement. “If you receive a call from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office please do not give out any personal information and understand that a deputy will drive out and speak to you in person if you request it.”

Click here to keep up on scams in the area.

‘Devastated’ mom of twin babies who died in hot car defends their father: ‘I still love my husband’

WQAD News -

NEW YORK — The mother of 1-year-old twins who died after their father left them in a car parked in New York City for eight hours defended her husband in a new statement.

Juan Rodriguez, 39, was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child during his Saturday arraignment, WPIX reports.

"Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband," Marissa Rodriguez said in a statement released by her lawyer. "He is a good person and great father and I know he would've never done anything to hurt our children intentionally. I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake."

Rodriguez dropped the couple's 4-year-old son off at daycare and then went straight to work, arriving around 8 a.m. Friday, instead of dropping his twins off, prosecutors said during the dad's arraignment. At the end of his workday, he drove a few blocks, then realized his babies were still in their car seats. Their body temperatures were taken at the scene and read 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

“He’s mindful of the fact that he has to live with this every day of the rest of his life," his lawyer said.

His wife said that she needs her husband by her side "to go through this together," adding that this is her worst nightmare and that everything she does reminds her of her babies.

"Luna and Phoenix will always live in our hearts and memories and we are working hard to come to terms with what has happened," she said in the statement. "We need to grieve, be strong and be present for our other children."

A GoFundMe has been launched to help cover funeral expenses.

Heavy police presence and building taped off in Davenport for shooting investigation

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Our News 8 team confirmed an active shooting investigation as several police vehicles were lined up outside a building in Davenport.

Monday, July 29, Several police vehicles lined the street on 1300 W 13th S for shots fired.

They say it happened around 11:15 a.m.

They were outside a building completely taped off with caution tape.

Davenport Police confirmed they were collecting evidence on the shooting and there were no injuries.

“When Officers arrived they began to canvass the area and located several shell casings in the street. No damage or injuries were reported”-Davenport PD

Head in the Clouds: Welcoming Meteorologist Morgan Strackbein

WQAD News -

On this episode of Heat in the Clouds we meet the newest member of the StormTrack8 weather team, Meteorologist Morgan Strackbein! Hear what she’s experienced here in the Quad Cities so far and why she chose to pursue a career in broadcasting.

Have an idea for a future show topic? Simply send me an email!

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

San Francisco school will cover up a mural depicting slaves, dead Native Americans

WQAD News -

SAN FRANCISCO – When Amy Anderson and her son walked into George Washington High School years ago they felt a gut-wrenching reaction, coming face to face with a larger than life mural depicting images of slavery and dead Native Americans.

Tuesday evening, after decades of debate and outcry, the San Francisco Unified School District unanimously voted to cover up this 1936-era fresco, “Life of Washington.”

A fight started in the 1960s

The mural was commissioned by the US Government in 1936 under a New Deal art program and painted by well-known muralist Victor Arnautoff.

During the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960’s, members of school’s Black Student Union called for the removal of the mural.

Instead of removing the mural then, the District hired black artist Dewey Crumpler to paint a “response mural,” showing Native Americans and African Americans in a more positive light.

Three years ago, the call for removal was reignited when Anderson’s son Kai decided to enroll at Washington High.

A Native American student at Washington High

Anderson and her son are Native American. Kai told his mom he would walk into school with his head down everyday so he would not have to see the murals on the wall.

“They (Native students) actually see themselves and their ancestors up there on those walls and they feel pain,” Anderson said.

In late fall 2018, Anderson and fellow indigenous activist Mariposa Villaluna drafted a resolution to send to Mark Sanchez, a school board commissioner. The move resulted in the creation of the district’s Reflection and Action Committee to decide what to do about the “Life of Washington” mural.

In February, the committee recommended to the school board that the mural should be covered in white paint before the start of the 2019 school year.

At odds with school values

The committee argued the mural did not live up to the district’s student-centered focus and did not represent its values of social justice, diversity and unity. It added that the mural glorified slavery, genocide and oppression.

At Tuesday evening’s school board meeting, those in favor of keeping the mural argued the artist intended to provoke thoughtful discussions about oppression and the mural could be used as a teaching tool for future generations.

Villaluna said the school can find ways to teach these issues without students having to pass by the mural each morning.

“The students thought this would be good as a lesson but not something we walk by every day,” Villaluna said.

According to the Tuesday night resolution, the board will now work to remove the mural from public view, using solid panels or equivalent material to cover the walls.

Anderson and Villaluna would prefer the mural be painted over in white paint, but if that takes too long the resolution allows for the district to cover the mural in paneling in the meantime.

For Villaluna, this is about much more than simply covering up the painting.

“It’s also about reclaiming our time, reclaiming our space. It’s about black and indigenous people … it’s a form of reparations,” Villaluna said.

Although, Anderson and Villaluna see Tuesday’s vote as a win, they won’t consider it a victory until the white paint is up.

Anderson said for decades the voices of the Native and African American communities were ignored. For her, this movement has been always grounded in that knowledge — that she is speaking up for her ancestors who were not able to.

Family receives hateful letter after disabled daughter shows goats in competition

WQAD News -

CORYDON, Iowa - The Turnbulls have had to figure out a lot of things when it comes to caring for their daughter, Stella. The 12-year-old was born with the children's version of ALS and she was only given a month to live. So, when she told her parents she wanted to show goats, it was just one more challenge to overcome.

“One thing we’ve learned about her is if there’s something she wants to do, we’ll try to help her to figure out how to make that happen,” Sarah, her mother, told WHO. 

The solution was a platform next to her motorized wheelchair for the goat to put its front legs on. While Stella can’t groom or feed her goat, Lou, she had to train her to use the platform and walk with her.

“Stella had to work a lot with her out on our farm to make sure that Lou was in good position and had to practice for being out in the ring,” said Sarah.

Stella has had early success, winning her first competition at the Southern Iowa Fair. Her parents say they were just happy she was there.

“To see her out there on her own doing something she loves to do is priceless. She speaks with her eyes, and when she came out of there her eyes were bright and she was very proud, and it just makes us proud as parents,” said Travis, her father.

But not everyone was as supportive. After Stella’s win, her parents received an anonymous letter suggesting Stella didn’t do enough work to show a goat, and that her parents should be “ashamed.” But it was one particular line that upset the family the most.

“It said, ‘you need to quit trying to make your daughter normal,’ and what is normal? To us, you need to just go out and do your best. If nothing else, it just motivates me, even more, to make sure she can do everything that everyone else can do."

“It said, ‘you need to quit trying to make your daughter normal,’ and what is normal? To us, you need to just go out and do your best. If nothing else, it just motivates me, even more, to make sure she can do everything that everyone else can do,” said Travis.

The family says they don’t want to dwell on the letter, saying they want to focus on motivating others who might have a disability.

"We hope that the fact that she was able to do this just inspires others to not give up and being able to help others say 'OK, we can do this,'" said Sarah.

On Sunday, Stella showed her goat at the Wayne County Fair and plans to show at other fairs in the future.

Bullet found lodged in woman’s bra strap after deadly Brooklyn park shooting

WQAD News -

BROOKLYN N.Y. — One person was killed and 11 others were injured in a Saturday shooting at a Brooklyn park, but it could have been worse if not for one of the victim's bra straps.

Daniesa Murdaugh, 21, was one of thousands at the annual Old Timers Event when gunfire erupted. She said her bra strap stopped a bullet from piercing her spine.

“I believe God covered my baby," Murdaugh's mother said. "When EMS  had cut her bra strap off, the bullet was just sitting on her bra strap."

Murdaugh was one of seven men and five women between the ages of 21 and 55 who were injured. A 38-year-old man died from a bullet wound to the head.

"It stings and it's sore and I can't put any type of pressure on my left side," Murdaugh said after she was released from the hospital Sunday.

She feels unsafe in the aftermath of the shooting.

"You can't go outside and have fun without thinking somebody got a gun and I got to run soon," Murdaugh said.

No arrests have yet been made.

6-year-old boy killed at Gilroy Garlic Festival remembered as ‘happy kid’

WQAD News -

Stephen Romero

The shooting death of 6-year-old Stephen Romero at a popular festival in Northern California stunned his family and neighbors.

Stephen’s father, Alberto Romero, told CNN affiliate the San Jose Mercury News newspaper that he was at home when his wife called to say she, her mother and their son had been shot at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, maybe I was dreaming,” he said.

The dad went to a hospital to see his son.

“They told me he was in critical condition and that they were working on him,” he said. “Five minutes later they told me he was dead.”

When paternal grandmother Maribel Romero found out the boy had been shot, she went from hospital to hospital looking for him. Stephen was a happy kid, she said.

“This is really hard, there’s no words to describe (it),” she told CNN affiliate KRON of her grandson’s death. “I don’t think this is fair.”

Stephen was among the three people killed Sunday evening when a gunman sneaked into the festival and began firing. Twelve others were injured at what was supposed to be a family-friendly event. About 100,000 people attend the decades-old festival each year, previous records show.

And collectively, the event has helped raise “millions of dollars for local schools, charities, and nonprofit organizations,” the festival’s website says.

Officers engaged the suspect within one minute, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said, and the suspect was shot and killed.

‘We need to know … there’s justice’

The boy’s mother was shot in the hand and in the stomach and is expected to survive, KRON reported.

“I just wish that they get the people who did it,” Maribel Romero said. “We need to know that they got this person and that there’s justice.”

Gilroy City Council member Fred M. Tovar told CNN early Monday he was saddened by the news of the child’s death.

“I pray that God will grant his family strength. My most sincere condolences. I will keep your family close in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks as you are going through the process of grieving,” he said in a statement.

Las Vegas’ grasshopper invasion is so big you can see it on weather radar

WQAD News -

A wet spring in Las Vegas has spawned hordes of grasshoppers so large, they’re showing up on the weather radar.

In viewing the radar, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said it looked like there were two storms over the Vegas area: one north of the city (that was actual rain) and another right over Las Vegas. But the second one wasn’t moving as rain normally would, she said.

“It looked as though it should be torrentially downpouring in Las Vegas,” said Chinchar.

By changing the settings on the radar, meteorologists could see that the other “storm” was actually the massive hordes of grasshoppers that have settled over the city in recent days, Chinchar said.

The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas said in a tweet Saturday that people have been asking about “the widespread radar returns” in the city over the past few nights.

Las Vegas, like all of Nevada, has had almost twice as much rain in 2019 than normal, Chinchar said. The city has had 4.63 inches of rain to date — much more than its usual average of 2.38 inches in the same period.

“It appears through history that when we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often down below Laughlin and even into Arizona,” Jeff Knight, state entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said. “We’ll have flights (of grasshoppers) about this time of the year, migrations, and they’ll move northward.”

Knight said the swarms aren’t terribly unusual given the amount of rain the state has had this year.

“We have records clear from the ’60s of it happening, and I have seen it … at least four or five times in my 30-plus years,” he said. “There are some special weather conditions that trigger the migration.”

FBI searching for ‘Pink Lady Bandit’ accused in bank robberies across the East Coast

WQAD News -

The FBI is on the hunt for a woman they have dubbed the “Pink Lady Bandit.”

The woman, described by the FBI as either white or Hispanic, has robbed four banks across the East Coast since July 20. Federal authorities gave her the Pink Lady Bandit nickname because of the distinctive pink handbag she carried during at least two of her robberies, the FBI in Charlotte, North Carolina, said. The FBI says the woman is 130 pounds and between five-feet-two to five-feet-four inches tall.

During each robbery, the FBI said the Pink Lady Bandit showed a bank teller a note demanding money.

The first robbery took place July 20 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, about 23 miles west of Harrisburg.

Help the #FBI identify the "Pink Lady Bandit." She is believed to have robbed at least 3 banks along the east coast. The most recent in Ayden, NC. @FBIBaltimore @FBIPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/8zeJewSKDm

— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) July 26, 2019

Three days later, authorities say the Pink Lady Bandit robbed a bank in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on the state’s eastern shore.

Between Thursday and Saturday, the Pink Lady Bandit robbed two banks in North Carolina. The first in Ayden, about 90 miles east of Raleigh, on Thursday. The Pink Lady Bandit then traveled 180 miles southwest to Hamlet and robbed another bank on Saturday, the FBI said.

There is a $10,000 reward for anyone with information on the Pink Lady Bandit.

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