The latest local news

Bicycle lane markings pop up throughout Moline

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois — The City of Moline is continuing its effort to increase safety for cyclists on its roads.

Last spring, the city council made motions to begin marking safe paths for bicycles on many of Moline’s most trafficked roads. Working with the cycling community, the city designated five routes where dedicated bicycle routes would be the most helpful for both drivers and bikers.

The current bicycle routes include two east/west paths on 12th Avenue and Coal Town Road, as well as three north/south routes on 60th Street, 41st Street, and 14th/16th Street.  Click here to see a map of these Moline bikeways. 

Local residents may start seeing markings on these roads that resemble two chevrons above a bicycle. This marking is commonly called a “sharrow”, which means that the road is shared by drivers and cyclists at the same time. As a driver, be aware that bicycles have the same rights as cars to driving lanes, per state law. As a cyclist, it is highly recommended to use these routes due to the specific safety markings.

More bicycle routes are planned for development as the city continues to expand its initiative to make its streets safer for those more vulnerable travelers.

Barry strengthens into Category 1 hurricane as it nears landfall in Louisiana

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(CNN) — Barry strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning as it crawled toward the Louisiana coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The center of the storm as of 11 a.m. ET was about 40 miles south of Lafayette, Louisiana, and about 50 miles west of Morgan City, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and creeping at 6 mph.

The storm — the first hurricane to hit the US this year — was unloading powerful winds and heavy rain ahead of its expected landfall Saturday.

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Rainfall poses the greatest threat. Barry’s slow trek means residents from the Gulf Coast through the lower Mississippi Valley will see extended periods of heavy rain that could prompting flooding that lasts into next week, forecasters said.

There were also concerns about dangerous coastal storm surge and a risk of tornadoes from southeast Louisiana to south Alabama.

Though heavy, sustained rain still threatens the New Orleans area, fears among residents and forecasters there relaxed as a predicted storm surge on the unusually high Mississippi River happened late Friday at a lower level than anticipated, according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans. The developing factors had called to mind for some the death and destruction wrought in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, though the weather and flood-infrastructure circumstances are not the same.

A hurricane warning is in effect along part of the Louisiana coast, while inland areas, including the lower Mississippi Valley, are under tropical storm warnings. Storm surge warnings along the coast extend from Intracoastal City, south of Lafayette, to Biloxi, Mississippi, and along Lake Pontchartrain.

Tropical-storm-force winds will extend up to 175 miles outward from the storm’s center.

More than 62,000 customers across Louisiana were without power on Saturday morning, utility providers said. Hundreds of flights in New Orleans were canceled, and some cruise ship departures were in flux.

The real danger is the rain, governor says

Top of mind as Barry nears land is the heavy rains and related flooding it’s expected to usher in.

“We are talking about 18-24 hours after landfall, the rain will still be coming down and will be the issue,” CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said some areas could see up to 25 inches of rain.

“Nobody should take this storm lightly just because it’s supposed to be a Category 1 (hurricane) when it makes landfall,” the governor said. “The real danger in this storm was never about the wind anyway, it’s always been about the rain, and that remains a very significant threat.”

When the ground is as saturated as it already is in the region, the governor said, the risks are endless. “It doesn’t take much wind to cause a tree to fall or a utility pole to fall,” he said. “These hazards are going to present themselves all over the state.”

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In Morgan City, where the hurricane is expected to make landfall, officials and city workers are worried about lingering water. The fishing and oil hub is about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans and south of Lafayette.

With up to 30 inches of rain projected this weekend for the region, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi worried it may be more than the city’s drainage system can take.

“We can handle the first 5 inches, but after that, we can pump 1 inch per hour. If we get rain greater than that, it will exceed our capacity to pump it out,” he told CNN.

Evacuations ordered and National Guard members called up

Across the region, cities and parishes have issued mandatory evacuation orders, especially in low-lying areas and those outside public levee protection, along with voluntary evacuation warnings for other places, the governor said. For the first time since their construction, all major floodgates on the Mississippi River are closed, he added.

The state’s forces also have mobilized in anticipation of search and rescue missions, he said.

A rescue already was underway midmorning Saturday — and more calls for help had come in — in coastal Terrebonne Parish, east of Morgan City, the US Coast Guard said. At least a dozen people needed to be saved along Island Road, effectively a bridge that traverses the marshy bayou that opens into the gulf.

Four people and a cat were picked up by a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and taken inland to Houma, Louisiana, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lexie Preston said. A 24-foot Coast Guard response boat also was launched from Morgan City to help with rescues.

Following President Donald Trump’s state of emergency declaration, Louisiana officials activated 3,000 National Guard members in anticipation of Barry, the governor said. And despite the state’s long-honed expertise in facing this sort of threat and its enhanced post-Katrina storm defenses, residents were urged to be prepared.

Canceled flights, cruises and a concert

More than 200 flights were canceled as of Saturday morning in and out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Three Carnival Cruise Line ship departures scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday are in limbo following the closure of ports in New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. The cruise line said it will update passengers Saturday morning.

Meantime, the Rolling Stones postponed a Saturday concert to Monday.

“Hang on to your tickets,” the legendary band tweeted. “We’re here with you — we’ll get through this together.”

Mississippi River threat dissolves

Officials earlier this week had warily eyed the Mississippi River as it far exceeded its usual midsummer levels owing to this year’s historic storms throughout the valley. Barry had been expected to produce a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet at the river’s mouth and push the waterway’s height to about 19 feet in New Orleans, frighteningly close to the top of levees that protect up to 20 feet.

Those fears have calmed since late Friday, when the surge crest happened and pushed the river only to 16.9 feet, the weather service’s New Orleans office tweeted. The risk of overtopping was minimal, the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said.

Barry’s heavy rain is predicted to push the river level up again on Monday, but only to 17.1 feet, forecasters said.

Storm triggers latent Katrina fears

For some in New Orleans, Barry — on the heels of a swift, strong rainstorm Wednesday that flooded some homes and businesses — brought to mind Katrina, when the failure of federal levees let Lake Pontchartrain and other adjacent waterways spill into the city while at the same time rendering the municipal drainage system useless to pump that water out.

Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, who lives in the city’s Broadmoor neighborhood, flew out ahead of Barry, leaving behind neighbors with vivid memories of the 2005 destruction, she said.

“This storm is stressing them out,” Gulliver-Garcia told CNN. “Trauma stays in your body, and Katrina left a lot of trauma behind.”

Most New Orleanians, though, opted to stay put. Herman Grady evacuated during Katrina, but this time, he’s staying back.

“I’m tired of running,” the 72-year-old told CNN affiliate WDSU.

Many residents aren’t eager to endure the expense and effort of leaving, compared with what could be a few uncomfortable hours or days without power or other amenities. Many also want to stay home so they can bail water if it rises, then dry out floors and drywall as soon as it recedes so mold doesn’t take root and worsen damage.

Video shows man swimming in Mississippi River during Tropical Storm Barry

WQAD News -

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – Musician Glen David Andrews came across a man swimming in the Mississippi River near the French Quarter during Tropical Storm Barry.

Andrews was walking up to the river across from Jackson Square when he spotted the unidentified daredevil.

“Man, you gotta be crazy swimming in that river,” Andrews said.

Despite his misgivings about the stunt, Andrews streamed the man’s quick dip on his Facebook page.

Swimming in the Mississippi River is not advisable under even the calmest conditions and getting into swirling waters could be deadly, especially combined with the effects of Tropical Storm Barry.    Nevertheless, the shirtless man persevered and eventually calmly exited the water.

“Swimming in the river, I done seen it all,” he said.

Illinois State police take the high road over distracted drivers

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Area police have hopped into cars once again to crack down on distracted driving, but this time, they're not in the normal black and white.

On Friday, July 12th, the District 7 Illinois State Police began a new program called "Trooper in a Truck" in cooperation with the Illinois State Police Commercial Vehicle Section. Troopers climbed into the passenger seats of semi-trucks to get a better view of what drivers are doing at the wheel. When noticing a violation, the passenger trooper would notify other troopers in the area and move in to catch the distracted driver.

This coincides with the recently passed Illinois state law prohibiting the use of mobile devices without the use of a hands-free system while driving.

RELATED: Illinois is cracking down on phone use behind the wheel starting July 1st

This program also has another beneficiary effect in reminding drivers to be more careful when driving close to large vehicles like semi-trucks.

According to District 7 Police, they were able to issue over 17 tickets and warnings within hours of the program's launch. The department is planning to continue the campaign as more local trucks are outfitted with police equipment.

In a statement posted to the the District Police's Facebook page, Captain Jason Dickey explains the necessity of increased awareness and policing of distracted driving by saying, "I can say with confidence that nearly every driver on the road has either seen the reckless actions of someone on a phone, been the driver distracted by their phone, or both. We all need to do better to keep our roads safe."

JDC: Volunteer of the Day Friday

WQAD News -

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC-  How would you like to be in charge of more than 700 volunteers at the John Deere Classic?

It's not easy but someone's gotta do it.

Our volunteer of the day is Harvy Green, this year, marks his forty-first year volunteering at the JDC.

He is the head of the marshal's, the group that holds the quiet signs to control the crowds.

Green says the job keeps him on his toes all week. Green is a retired teacher, he worked at Geneseo High School for 35 years.

JDC: Fan of the Day Friday

WQAD News -

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC- The JDC fan of the day is Michael Boeh.

Michael came with his wife and her cousins from Clearmont, Missouri to watch golf Friday, July 12.

They got lucky with front row seats to hole 10.

Michael says they came to the tournament because they are 'John Deere people', and wanted to watch golf.

North Scott Jr. High School teachers testify about being held at gunpoint

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa - During an emotional day in court on July 12, a teacher and a former student teacher testified about the day they say 13-year-old Luke Andrews held them at gunpoint inside of a classroom at North Scott Junior High School.

Police reports say it happened on August 31, 2018.

Student Teacher Kaitlyn MacDonald told the court she was taking attendance when she noticed Andrews walk into the classroom late.

She said he pulled out a gun and pointed it at her.

"I had a moment where I accepted the fact that I was going to die," said MacDonald as a jury listened to her testimony.

While being held at gunpoint, the student teacher tried to get social studies teacher Dawn Spring's attention. They were standing in Spring's classroom.

Both MacDonald and Spring testify that Andrews then pointed the gun at Spring.

"He puts the gun up at face level and pulls the trigger," said Spring.

The gun did not go off. Police say the gun's safety was still on.

Spring said Andrews gave the gun a weird look, then pointed the gun at her a second time.

"At that point, my mind said 'oh my gosh, he just tried to shoot me and I better not let that happen again," said Spring while sitting at the witness stand.

Spring worked to get Andrews calmed down, then took him to the school counselor's office.

Working with a counselor, Spring grabs the gun out of Andrews hands and runs it to the main office.

"I have a gun! I have a gun! It's a real gun it's loaded," she says she yelled to the building secretary.

They unloaded the gun and placed the gun in a freezer in a teacher's lounge.

Andrews is charged with attempted murder.

The defense claims he never meant to hurt anyone and was only looking for attention.

Other witnesses on July 12 included students who were in the classroom with Spring and MacDonald on August 31 when the incident unfolded, and professionals who work for the district, and for Davenport Police Department, who gave insight into Andrews online behavior leading up to the incident.

Andrews had reportedly searched images of firearms in the days leading up to the shooting, and bragged to his peers that he was bringing a gun to school.

Trial is set to resume Monday, July 15 at 9:00 a.m. at the Scott County Courthouse.

A 96-year-old WWII veteran came into a Chick-fil-A with a flat tire, so the manager rushed out to fix it

WQAD News -

A manager at a Maryland Chick-Fil-A was quick to help when he saw a regular customer needed more than his usual chicken biscuit and coffee.

Daryl Howard was taking orders Thursday morning at the restaurant in Severn when a 96-year-old WWII veteran, known to employees as Mr. Lee, came to the register and said he had a flat tire.

“He was shaking, almost in tears saying he barely made it to the store on three tires because one was bad,” Rudy Somoza, another manager, told CNN.

Lee was able to park but had no one to help change his tire.

“As soon as he finished his sentence, Daryl informed me he needed to help this gentleman right now,” Somoza said. “So, Daryl jumped into action without hesitation.”

It took Howard about 15 minutes to change the tire. He didn’t know Somoza had taken pictures until later.

Somoza said he’s worked with Howard about five years.

“His action of kindness was beautiful. Daryl has always been so helpful to anyone in need and deserves this recognition,” Somoza said.

Somoza said Lee came back Friday and was very thankful.

Almost 20% of nonsmoking workers are exposed to secondhand smoke on the job, study finds

WQAD News -

People who don’t smoke can still be at risk for heart disease, lung cancer and stroke after they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. Almost 20% of nonsmoking workers in the United States were exposed to secondhand smoke while on the job, according to a study published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During 2013 and 2014, 1 in 4 US nonsmokers reported a secondhand smoking exposure and an estimated 41,000 adult nonsmokers’ deaths were linked to secondhand smoke.

“Secondhand smoke exposure is an important public health issue … and has been recognized as one of the top occupational hazards that contributes substantially to the prevalence of occupational cancer among nonsmokers,” Dr. Sara Luckhaupt, a study author and preventive medicine physician in Cincinnati, said in an email. Luckhaupt is also a medical officer for the CDC.

Just over 10% of people reported frequent secondhand exposure at work, defined as twice a week or more. But some jobs have it worse than others.

In the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair industry, 65% of people reported secondhand smoke exposure, the most of any industry measured. The construction industry had the highest number of exposed workers at 2.9 million.

“The industries with the highest prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure and the highest number of exposed workers include outdoor workplaces and other settings that are unlikely to be protected by smoke-free laws,” Luckhaupt said.

People who lived in states with stricter smoke-free workplace laws had less frequent secondhand smoke exposure.

The study looked at states with smoke-free policies in three venues: bars, restaurants and private worksites. Nonsmoking workers in states with smoke-free laws in all three venues were least likely to report frequent exposure to workplace secondhand smoke — 8.6%. In states with a smoke-free policy in only one venue, 12.2% reported frequent exposure to workplace secondhand smoke.

In states with no restrictions, 11% of people reported frequent exposure to secondhand smoke.

Previous studies have shown similar secondhand smoking exposure. “There are marked disparities in secondhand smoke exposure,” said Brian King, a deputy director for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, who was not involved with the study. “There are geographical variations … and higher rates of secondhand exposure in areas with lower number of smoke-free policies.”

For the new study, researchers analyzed responses from 15,998 US employees, ages 18 and older, who took the 2015 National Health Interview Survey with the Occupational Health Supplement.

The study had some limitations, including smaller sample sizes in some jobs and the different distribution of industries by state. Participants self-reported their secondhand exposure, which could bias findings. Studies on secondhand smoke exposure are also limited to burned tobacco products and don’t include e-cigarettes, according to King.

But the study’s findings show that the “implementation of workplace smoke-free policies” can help reduce secondhand smoke exposure among workers and protect public health,” the researchers wrote.

“Secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for over 40,000 deaths per year in this country,” King said. “Even brief levels of exposure can be harmful.”

‘Lights for Liberty’ vigil planned in Moline, aims to speak out against migrant detention camps

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois — People in the Quad Cities are expected to join a nationwide effort to stand up human detention camps.

On Friday, July 12, thousands of Americans planned a vigil called “Lights for Liberty,” aimed at speaking out against conditions in migrant detention centers along the southern border.   A vigil was organized near Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood at the intersection of Fifth Avenue Place and 12th Street at 7 p.m.

A program of speakers and music was set to begin at 9 p.m., with participants lighting cell phones and candles to honor people in U.S. detention camps.

The organization is holding several other national protests across the country with the same goal. The biggest protests are planned in El Paso, Texas, Homestead, Florida, and San Diego.

ICE has mostly been silent in the face of the criticism, but President Donald Trump has spoken up in recent days, commending Border Patrol and ICE officers while downplaying the complaints.

“Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they…came from, and in far safer conditions.”

CNN contributed to this report

The reason Hole 11 keeps volunteers coming back for more at Deere Run

WQAD News -

DEERE RUN-- At Deere Run spectators flock to certain spots. Hole 18 is the finishing hole, and Hole 16 is known for its spectacular Rock River views. But Hole 11 has a different type of appeal. For some volunteers, it's the only spot they want to be.

Hole 11, Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois; it takes more than a dozen volunteers to man this par four on the back nine.

"As marshals our job is to control the crowd and to help the players. That's why we're here," says Hole 11 Marshal Captain Bob Akaki.

But manning the hole isn't the only reason he's here.

When he's here, his address might as well be Hole 11. That's because the marshals working with him on the hole are just as close as family.

Every few hours, he walks the entire hole making sure every member of his John Deere Classic family is hydrated, making sure each one knows he appreciates them.

"Every year it's "Hey how ya doin'?" He knows me, I know him. He goes to all these other tournaments," says longtime Hole 11 volunteer Larry Forbes.

For as close as this family is, you might be surprised to find out this isn't Bob's only golf home. Bob has seven homes, seven different tournaments he volunteers at every single year. While most of his tournament spots are in the Midwest, he travels coast to coast, watching golf, spreading his love of giving back.

"The best feedback I can get is to see you back on the volunteer bus, on this hole, another hole but somewhere here," says Akaki.

His mission is working.

"We went to a couple different holes. And when we got here with Bob, we don't go any place else. Every year we're going to Hole 11 with Bob," says Forbes.

Hole 11, Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois; mark this location on your map. This week someone special lives here.

"He is the spirit of the volunteer golf," says Forbes.

This year for the John Deere Classic, Bob Akaki won the Outstanding Volunteer award.

After the Classic, he's heading to Omaha to volunteer at the Pinnacle Bank Championship.

A golf tournament for people overcoming a specific type of loss

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- For the second year in a row, people who have experienced a specific loss were invited to come together for a day of friendly competition.

The Amputee Golf Classic, held Friday, July 12 at Palmer Hills Golf Course, is way to support those who have experienced and overcome the loss of a limb.  Organizers say the event helps with rehabilitation and gives golfers a chance to have fun.

Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics hosted the event.  According to the event listing on Facebook, the goal of the day is to "promote friendship, fitness, fun and rehabilitation through active participation in golf for amputees of all ages."

"So many times they go through the process and they're not able to have fun," said Stacy Powers, the area practice manager. "Today is a day where they can celebrate and come out and enjoy what they're doing."

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