The latest local news

Cat survives long slide down frozen dam spillway

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HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. – Two members of the Army Corps of Engineers rescued a cat that found itself stranded on an Indiana spillway on Wednesday.

The Huntington County Sheriff’s Office says it’s unknown how the feline got there, because there’s no way to access the area, but it’s possible it had fallen off of State Road 5 or was thrown off.

“The cat was clearly in distress and retreated to the very top of the spillway area and lodged itself in the metal structure,” the sheriff’s office said.

There wasn’t an easy way to access the cat, so crews decided get a boat out and try to coax the animal down.

“It was decided it was worth a shot to attempt the help the cat versus doing nothing,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

After about an hour, Ryan Martin and Jared Perrott with the Army Corps of Engineers were able to shut the water off and launch the boat. When the boat reached the spillway, the cat came out of the structure it was hiding in, slid the entire way down and the rescuers were able to grab the animal before it hit the water.

One woman commented on the Facebook post claiming to be the owner. She says, "Mr. Vanjie is safe and sound! He has been missing for almost 2 weeks."

"I’d truly like to thank the Huntington County Sheriff Department and the rescuers from the Army Corp of Engineers who saved our beloved cat! He is an inside-outside cat we took in when he landed on our doorstep a little over a year ago. We are very thankful to have him home! He is exhausted!"

Augustana College shuts down Old Main after refrigerant leak

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Augustana College has closed down a building because of a refrigerant leak.

Crews were working on the HVAC system at Old Main Monday morning, January 21, when the leak occurred, according to the Director of Public Relations, Ashleigh Johnston.

The leak caused a non-toxic fog, reported the Augustana Observer.

Old Main houses classes for students studying subjects like English, philosophy, communications, religion, political science and history.

Johnston said the building would be closed for the rest of the day.  Crews were on scene cleaning and doing air-quality checks after the leak happened.

Students are being asked to avoid the area.  Johnston said there shouldn’t be any health risks associated with the leak.

Old Main has been evacuated due to fire alarm. HVAC system experienced a leak while a contractor worked on the system causing a non-toxic fog in Old Main. Students, staff, faculty, and others, please continue to avoid Old Main

— Augustana Observer (@AugieObserver) January 21, 2019

Man arrested at Super 8 in Burlington faces 12 charges

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BURLINGTON, Iowa — A man arrested at a Super 8 faces 12 charges after attempting to escape.

Kevin Jermaine Jefferson, 36, was arrested on Jan. 20, according to a press release. He was wanted for parole violation and robbery stemming from an incident where he allegedly stabbed a man named Damian Gordon.

During the arrest, Jefferson damaged a hotel window, the release states. However, police were able to apprehend him.

According to the release, authorities found two firearms, one of which is reported stolen from Ft. Madison, Iowa. Officers also found marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, drug paraphernalia, and a large sum of money.

Jefferson now faces 12 charges:

  • Des Moines County Warrant – Robbery 1st Degree
  • Des Moines County Warrant – Parole Violation
  • Firearm by Felon
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility
  • Theft 3rd – Possession of Stolen Firearm
  • Carrying Weapons
  • Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – Ecstasy
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – Marijuana
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Criminal Mischief 5th degree

Jefferson is held at the Des Moines County Correctional Center.

12-year-old girl dies in snow fort collapse outside church

WQAD News -

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — A 12-year-old girl has died after a snow fort collapsed while she was playing outside a church in suburban Chicago.

Arlington Heights police are calling the death a “tragic accident.”

Police say the girl, Esther Jung, was playing with a 9-year-old girl in the snow outside Rothem Church on Sunday. Their families began looking for the girls about an hour after they went outside to play.

They found the girls under the snow. The younger girl survived.

Police say it’s unclear how long the girls were trapped. The temperature at the time was about 14 degrees.

Quad Cities Missing Persons Network receives funds from the Three Degree Guarantee

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Tom Pospisil  from Eriksen Chevrolet was on-hand to present a check for $540 for the December Three Degree Guarantee to the Quad Cities Missing Persons Network.

Accepting the check was Dennis Harker representing the Quad Cities Missing Persons Network.

The Quad Cities Missing Persons Network is a community-wide network of volunteers and members who quickly circulate information via social media to rally support to search for the missing person. They also communicate with law enforcement, media and each other in a coordinated and focused manner. Their mission is to provide guidance and support to families and friends of people who are missing and may be in extreme danger of harm or injury. They are people helping to find people.

If you would like to learn more about the Quad Cities Missing Persons Network or how to support the cause, please click here.

If your charity or organization, would like to be considered, please click here.

Flu shot may be more effective than nasal vaccine, study says

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(CNN) — When it comes to vaccinating yourself — or your kids — against the flu, there are two options in the United States: a traditional shot or a nasal spray.

Yet among children, the nasal spray appeared to have reduced effectiveness against the flu, compared with the shot, in past flu seasons, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Read more: First Iowa flu death of the season reported by IDPH

That finding, which involved analyzing data from several previous studies, seems to align with existing research.

“We were able to better describe vaccine effectiveness in age groups that the individual studies were not able to due to small sample sizes,” said Jessie Chung, first author of the study and an epidemiologist in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division.

The flu shot in the study is an inactivated influenza vaccine. The nasal spray, FluMist, is a live attenuated influenza vaccine. Though the viruses in FluMist are live, they have been weakened — attenuated, in medical terms — and work by stimulating the immune system.

MedImmune, a subsidiary of London-based AstraZeneca PLC, produces FluMist, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

Two of the new study’s 10 authors are employees of AstraZeneca, but Chung said the company was not directly involved in the study’s analysis.

For the 2018-19 flu season, which began in Octoberthree types of vaccine are available in the United States: the inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV, administered as a shot; the recombinant influenza vaccine or RIV, also administered as a shot; and the live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV, administered as a nasal spray.

“CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine — IIV, RIV4 or LAIV4 — with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another,” Chung said.

For the past two flu seasons, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of immunization experts, has not recommended the nasal spray. However, it was recommended again this flu season.

Dr. Pedro Piedra, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, wrote an editorial accompanying the study in Pediatrics. He noted that the committee’s latest recommendation for the use of the nasal spray was based, in part, on new manufacturer data revealing improvements to performance. That new data was not included in the new study.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the inactivated flu shot as the primary choice for children “because it has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of the flu virus in recent years.”

The new study included data from five previously published studies on vaccine effectiveness during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 flu seasons. The data included 17,173 children, ages 2 to 17, from 42 states.

After combining data from all flu seasons, the researchers found that vaccine effectiveness against any type of flu virus was 51% for the inactivated flu shot vs. 26% for the nasal spray.

The study had some limitations, including that it relied on information provided in those previously published data.

“Despite combining data, we were still limited by sample size in some of our analyses,” Chung said. Additionally, more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge in data from other flu seasons.

Some pediatricians, including Dr. Tanya Altmann, may prefer the nasal spray because that vaccine might not be as painful as a flu shot for their young patients. Of her three sons, Altmann said, two were given the FluMist this year, and one was given the shot.

“I’ve been practicing now for almost 20 years, and I did use the FluMist a lot when it was available, and I found that patients liked it because it wasn’t a shot — and, despite the study, I always felt like in my clinical practice it worked about as well as the shot,” said Altmann, founder of Calabasas Pediatrics Wellness Center in California and an American Academy of Pediatrics spokeswoman, who was not involved in the new study.

“The study did not include this current flu season, which from my understanding is a newly formulated FluMist vaccine. So the FluMist vaccine that I’m giving today in my office this season is different from the one that was studied. Only time will tell how effective the current FluMist vaccine is,” said Altmann, who is also author of the book “Baby and Toddler Basics.”

“I’m still hopeful,” she added. “I have no connection with the company. I just feel like it’s a good option, and I like the changes they made, and I want to give it another chance.”

Regardless of the type of flu vaccine your family may prefer, Altmann said, what remains most important is getting vaccinated.

Nineteen states have high levels of flu activity, and 13 flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported during the current season so far, according to numbers the CDC released Friday.

While a flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it does lessen the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness in those who might get the flu.

“We know hands-down that getting any flu vaccine is better than getting no flu vaccine. So talk to your pediatrician or your doctor about what’s available this season,” Altmann said. “It’s not too late to still get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already because the flu is here. It’s everywhere, and it’s rapidly spreading and very contagious.”

Former Starbucks CEO is reportedly considering 2020 presidential run

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(CNN) — Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, is exploring running for president as an independent candidate, two people familiar with his thinking told CNN.

A person close to Schultz’s advisers said they “are exploring a possible independent bid for the presidency in 2020,” but the person emphasized that all options remained on the table.

“(Schultz) is thinking deeply about his future and how he can best serve the country,” the person said.

Schultz stepped down from his position at Starbucks last year, and he said at the time he may consider a White House bid.

He went on to criticize President Donald Trump, citing both “vitriolic behavior” from the Trump administration and a cut to corporate taxes during an interview with CNBC in June. At the time, he said, “President Trump has given license to the fact that someone who is not a politician could potentially run for the presidency.”

In the same interview, Schultz knocked Democrats for proposals he deemed too left-wing, including single-payer health care and guaranteed income. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in response that Schultz’s remark was “dead wrong.”

Schultz is one of many around the country said to be considering a bid to challenge Trump in 2020, and the prospect of an independent candidacy would come as the Democratic field grows ever wider. On Monday, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris announced she would enter the race.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also a billionaire businessman, said previously he was considering a bid as well, but that if he did so, he would run as a Democrat, not believing a candidate outside the two major parties could succeed.

Third party and independent candidates failed to break out in the 2016 election, and no independent candidate has broken into the double digits since businessman Ross Perot’s 1992 independent bid garnered nearly 20% of the popular vote.

Boo, ‘world’s cutest dog,’ dead at 12

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If the January blues hadn’t already got to you… the world’s cutest dog, Boo, has died of a broken heart.

The Pomeranian Boo and his companion Buddy, who died last year, became internet sensations when their American owners started sharing pictures of their adorable antics.

His death was confirmed in a post made by his owners to his 16 million Facebook followers. He was 12 years old, in human years.

“Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us,” his owners wrote. “He hung on and gave us over a year. But it looks like it was his time, and I’m sure it was a most joyous moment for them when they saw each other in heaven.

If the January blues hadn’t already got to you… the world’s cutest dog, Boo, has died of a broken heart.

“Our family is heartbroken, but we find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort,” they added, noting that Boo “brought joy to people all over the world.”

The announcement was met with shock from Boo’s fans, several of whom said they were in tears at the news.

Venus The Two Face Cat, a Chimera cat with over a million Facebook fans, “wrote:” “He’s a true legend and we’ve so enjoyed following him for the past 6.5 years.”

In addition to his social media presence, Boo was appointed in 2012 as Virgin America’s Official Pet Liaison. He also had a book deal, appearing in photo books including “Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog,” published in 2011.

The dog “discussed” how he handled fame in a 2012 interview with CNN. “Life hasn’t changed much for me,” he said. “I like to stay home, play with toys and pal around with Buddy.”

A previous rumor that Boo had passed away was debunked in 2012.

Your Photos: Did you see the ‘Super Wolf Blood Moon’?

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The Super Wolf Blood Moon rose into the sky Sunday evening, January 20th.  The event was a combination of a blood moon and supermoon happening at the same time.

What does that mean?

According to, the first full moon of the year is known as the “Wolf Moon” and is named after howling wolves.

A supermoon is a full moon when it’s at the point in its orbit when it’s closest to the Earth.

And a blood moon is what happens with a lunar eclipse, the moon takes on a reddish/orangish tint.

So, did you capture the sight?

Kamala Harris to run for president in 2020

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Kamala Harris announced Monday that she is running for president in 2020, arguing that the time has come to fight against what she views as the injustices of the past two years of the Trump presidency.

In a brief video from her campaign that was released on social media Monday morning at the same time she appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Harris called on her supporters to join with her to “claim our future.”

Here’s who else we might see running in 2020

“Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren’t just words. They’re the values we as Americans cherish. And they’re all on the line now,” Harris said in the video, teasing her official kickoff in her birthplace of Oakland next Sunday.

“The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” the Democratic California senator said. “That’s why I’m running for president of the United States. “I’m running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together.”

Harris is the first African-American woman to announce a run for the White House in 2020, and the third woman in the field. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both announced exploratory committees, a step that Harris is skipping.

In a 2020 field that could include as many as four women, her allies believe that her life’s work as a prosecutor — from her start in Alameda County trying grisly crimes such as sexual assault to felonies including homicide — will help set her apart. The style developed over those years helped her build a national following when she grilled President Donald Trump’s nominees, including Brett Kavanaugh when he was a Supreme Court nominee.

Her book tour earlier this month served as a soft launch for her presidential bid, showcasing her strong appeal among women, minorities and millennials — as well as the criticism she will face over aspects of her long and complex record as a prosecutor, district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California.

She sought to use the anecdotes in the new book to demonstrate her toughness, including how she took on the big banks as California’s attorney general after the foreclosure crisis and held out for a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners. The clear subtext throughout her appearances was that she would not be bullied by anyone, including Trump.

While avoiding directly engaging Trump, Harris has accused the President of stoking racist and xenophobic rhetoric, while aligning his administration with white supremacists at home, and cozying up to dictators abroad.

She has argued that the needs of the middle class have been ignored, citing the federal shutdown over the President’s “vanity project” — a border wall — as the latest example.

‘Kamala Harris for the people’

Harris’ campaign will be headquartered in Baltimore — giving aides an East Coast hub in a racially diverse city that has struggled with wide income disparities — and Oakland, where Harris was born to immigrant parents who came to the US to advance their academic careers.

Harris chose to announce on Monday to honor the legacies of two of her heroes.

Forty-seven years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman ever to run for president, launched her campaign. And Martin Luther King Jr. has been a role model for Harris throughout her life in what she views as his “aspirational fight for progress.”

The former prosecutor chose yellow and red for her campaign logo in a nod to Chisholm’s bid for president with its red and yellow campaign buttons.

Her signs will carry her campaign theme “Kamala Harris for the people,” the words that she spoke each time she rose in the courtroom as a prosecutor.

In her memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” she writes about the “nerves, excitement, and adrenaline” running through her mind the first time she said those words as prosecutor.

“I was honored by and conscious of the immense responsibility I held—the duty to protect those who were the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society,” Harris writes in her book.

That has been a constant theme of her appearances over the past year on her book tour, and in early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina, where she will campaign on Friday.

Her record as a prosecutor

Harris’ record as a prosecutor has come under scrutiny each time she has run for office, both from the right and left. Some of the criticism has come into sharper focus as she has weighed a run for president and criminal justice has moved to the forefront of the Democratic agenda.

From the time that Harris told her family that she wanted to become prosecutor, she was on the defense about why she, as the child of civil rights activists, would be part of a system that disproportionately incarcerated black and brown men.

Harris sought to be part of changing the system from within from her early days as district attorney in 2004, when she created a diversionary program for first-time offenders charged with drug offenses that moved them into job training and apprenticeship programs.

She also launched programs aimed at reducing implicit bias as district attorney of the city and county of San Francisco and as California’s attorney general beginning in 2011. But some felt she did not do enough to support progressive ballot propositions revising California’s three-strikes law, for example, when she became attorney general. She maintained that she should not take a position, because she was responsible for writing the ballot language.

When she became attorney general, she came under fire for her decision to defend the death penalty — out of what she described as a sense of duty to the office — even though she personally opposed it. She won praise from the Los Angeles Times editorial board, but disappointed activists who had hailed her for withstanding intense pressure in 2004, when she did not seek the death penalty for the killer of San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza.

Her strategy

Juan Rodriguez, the strategist who managed Harris’ successful campaign for Senate in 2016 and advised California Gov. Gavin Newsom in his recent campaign, will be her campaign manager. Her sister Maya Harris, who advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, will serve as her campaign chair. She will continue to be guided by her longtime strategists Sean Clegg and Ace Smith.

Harris’ team has been interviewing potential aides in Iowa and New Hampshire. Her team clearly sees her strongest potential for an early state victory in South Carolina, where African-Americans made up 61 percent of the Democratic primary electorate in 2016.

From the Palmetto State, Harris hopes to notch another win because of her neighboring state advantage in Nevada, where she has campaigned extensively for other candidates.

The challenging task for Harris after those early state hurdles would be to try to fend off her challengers and consolidate the African-American vote. If successful, the goal would be to rack up a series of wins in the Southeastern states of the old Confederacy, where the most powerful force within the Democratic primary electorate is African-Americans.

Harris’ home state of California has also moved up its primary to Super Tuesday—but that will also be a tough battle given the expense of driving a message on television in the Golden State.

That is one of the many reasons she’ll be kicking off her campaign in her home base of Northern California, the place where she first campaigned for office, greeting voters at grocery stores while using her ironing board to hold her posters and her flyers.

In her video sign-off, she sought to build the crowd for her Jan. 27 rally there: “I’ll see you in Oakland,” she said.

Passengers stuck on United flight in frigid cold for more than 14 hours

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Hong Kong were left stuck on the ground for more than 14 hours in frigid weather with a dwindling supply of food.

The nightmarish incident began when the 3:05 p.m. flight was diverted to the Goose Bay Airport in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador due to a medical emergency. The plane landed there at 9:31 p.m. AST, and medical personnel met the aircraft and a passenger was taken to a local hospital.

But as the flight was set to take off again, it experienced a mechanical issue.

That’s when the waiting began.

Passengers were not allowed to leave the airplane because the Goose Bay Airport did not have a customs officer on duty during the overnight hours. Saturday bled into Sunday, and still the flight remained grounded.

Sonjay Dutt, a passenger on the plane, said on Twitter that the plane’s door had broken and that they were stuck on board as the weather dipped to negative-20 degrees outside. Unable to leave for hours upon hours, he began tweeting at United for help, saying that they were running low on food.

On Sunday morning, Goose Bay officials brought on donuts and coffee from Tim Hortons, the classic Canadian fast food restaurant.

United had food delivered to the passengers and “the crew is doing everything possible to assist customers,” a United spokesperson said.

Finally, after more than 14 hours, Dutt was able to get off the plane with the rest of the passengers.

“Its been a long long long long day,” he tweeted.

Lloyd Slade, another passenger on the plane, said he was “just very tired, at this point” on Sunday. “Cabin/flight crew have been excellent and very helpful (United HQ/dispatch, not so much.)”

An alternative aircraft containing meals for the passengers was flown to Goose Bay to transport customers back to Newark.

“We apologize to our customers and our crew is doing everything possible to assist them during the delay,” the company said.

Passenger Steven Lau thanked those who brought Tim Hortons on board.

“(I) feel partly relieved to be on a new plane, but the crew is still loading bags and preparing the aircraft, so not certain when we’ll actually take off,” he said. “It’s nearing 24 hours since we originally took off from Newark, so we’re all feeling restless and frustrated. I’m just ready to be off the plane and finished with this experience.”

Lau said some passengers on the flight had decided to scrap their trips entirely in the wake of the overnight stay on the tarmac. He is planning to wait to see how United can get him there ASAP, he said.

Day care provider found guilty after infant beaten with ‘extreme violence’

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OLATHE, Kan. – An unlicensed home day care owner accused of severely injuring a 4-month-old boy was found guilty in a Kansas courtroom Friday.

Paige Hatfield was found guilty on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a felony, and operating an unlicensed daycare, a misdemeanor. Kingston Gilbert had been in Hatfield’s care for just 11 days in 2017 when he was severely beaten, leaving him blind and suffering from brain damage.

On January 31, 2017, Hatfield called 911 because Kingston was throwing up. According to court documents, doctors at Children's Mercy Hospital said Kingston was “suffering from abusive head trauma,” which is, “only caused by violent non-accidental physical trauma.” They said Kingston’s injuries resulted from, “extreme violence.”

Prosecutors are asking for an enhanced sentence because Hatfield was a child care provider, that's being debated on Friday night.

Kingston's mother, Ashleigh Garcia, told WDAF that there are days that are "barely survivable."

"We spent 18 days in the I.C.U. just praying that he got through,” Garcia said. “We were told by doctors he is never going to be the same boy. I mean, we pretty much had to grieve the loss of out child and accept that the baby that we were bringing home was not the baby that I dropped off at day care that day."

Sentencing will be determined at a later date.

Fourth winter storm of the season arrives Tuesday

WQAD News -

Here we go again!

4-8 inches of snow will be possible with this system in far Northwestern Illinois and Northeastern Iowa. Because of that, Winter Storm Watches have been issued for the US-20 corridor.

For the rest of us, there will be a concern for freezing rain and snow. A strong southerly wind will warm the atmosphere so by the time precipitation breaks out late Tuesday morning, sleet and freezing rain will be a good possibility.

This could put quite a glaze down on untreated surfaces. Looking back at similar systems in the past that come so quickly after Arctic temperatures, we can get some really bad travel conditions pretty quickly.

This system doesn't appear to have as much moisture as this past weekend's storm system so if it all came as snow, it'd probably be less than what we got then.

Still, several inches of slush and ice are a good bet starting mid-morning Tuesday, lasting into the evening hours. Tuesday evening's commute will be much worse than the morning.

So far this month, we've seen just over 11 inches of snow. When you include the blizzard from November, we're still almost double what we normally see in a typical Winter season.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen


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