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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- The Rock Island County Courthouse looks different than it did just a few months ago.
The clerks and attorneys have all moved next door to the new Rock Island County Justice Center Annex. Hundreds of pieces of furniture have been pulled out and repurposed. And most courtrooms are empty, with the court benches stored away.
"Everybody's gone. Everything's gone. And you can really see the wear and tear the buildings has suffered through time," project manager Phil Thiele says.
He's been overseeing the asbestos removal in the courthouse. His company, Gilbane, also built the new annex.
Demolition has been delayed as the project waits for a demolition permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Thiele says crews found 2,000 additional square feet of asbestos they'll need to remove. He says that will take six more days of work and hopes the permit will be approved in the meantime.
For now, they've also removed most of the items with historical significance.
There's a big desk in one courtroom crews still need to remove and one courtroom full of benches that will be saved.
"It is a little different to be in a building where it's just the four of us here," Rock Island Historical Society President Merredith Peterson says. "It's just kind of like... 'Wow!'"
There's one last historical piece Peterson is waiting to see taken out of the courthouse. There are three marble tablets that used to hang on the walls. They're inscribed with hundreds of names.
"These are the names from the early settlers and old pioneers who actually came first to the county starting in 1938," Peterson says.
Thiele says these tablets, the heaviest weighing 800 pounds, will have to be lifted out the window with a crane before demolition.
Peterson says the Historical Society will find somewhere to display them.
"Their stories and sacrifice of what they did to establish our community... it's all built on their hard work," Peterson says, running her hand over the engravings.
But there are some things that won't be saved from the courthouse. Thiele says there are cubicles and furniture that nobody would take, not even for free. He says the cast-iron and wrought iron railings along the stairs and rotunda will be scrapped. He says they can't be repurposed because they don't meet safety codes.
Peterson says it's not easy to see the courthouse turn into a shell of what it once was.
"There was a lot of work that went before (this courthouse)," she says. "Just as there's a lot of work to tear it down and move into a new place. It's never easy."
But the memories and those who built this place won't be forgotten.
County officials are keeping track of the historical items from the courthouse. They'll be put on display for the public.
Thiele says demolition could start as early as the week of January 27.
Each Wednesday on News 8 CrimeStoppers of the Quad Cities introduce the community to one of the area's most wanted criminals.
On Wednesday, January 16, 2019, the "Wheel of Misfortune" landed on 26-year-old Ira Clark. He's 5'5", 162 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. He is wanted in Rock Island County for probation violation and aggravated battery.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers. Tips leading to an arrest could be eligible for a $500 reward.
Pleasant Valley's Macy Beinbirn is a basketball junkie.
"She can watch basketball for hours at a time," explains teammate Carli Spelhaug,
"When you get a kid like that as a coach you are like YES!" laughed head coach Jennifer Goetz. "We like kids like that that just live and breathe the gym."
Basketball has always been in Macy's blood. Her Dad, Mark, is the head women's coach at Augustana College. He also has spent several summers coaching Macy.
"Our house is a basketball house. My wife probaby watches more basketball on TV than I do," admits Beinborn.
"My Dad's always been a basketball coach so I grew up going to his game's," adds Macy. "We never had a babysitter so I'd be at his practices"
Basketball is a game that's taught Macy a lot, but her biggest lesson came last season- off the court.
"I'm sure it was hard at times," explains Goetz. "I'm sure it was really hard at times."
With the Lady Spartans enjoying one of their best seasons in school history, Beinborn saw herself sittin behind a very talented senior class.
"It wasn't easy but that's life," explained Mark Beinborn. "The hard part was knowing what to do as Dad."
"At some points it was frustrating because I wanted to be in," admitted Macy. "I wanted to play but I also understood I need to do was cheer on my team."
"That's where I honestly did make her cry," said Mark. "It's here's your situation, do more, deal with it. Ultimately when we are not babied in life and were not just handed things we learn to work for things."
And that's exactly what Macy did.
"A part of sitting last year really just drove me to work harder," explains Macy. "The day after the Regional final I was in the gym."
The hardwork and patince is now paying off for Macy and the entire Spartan senior class.
"These young ladies-- Macy included- are walking examples of when you trust the process and continue to do what you are supposed to do good things are gonna happen," explains Goetz.
Beinborn has emerged as one of the best shooters in the MAC this season. Meanwhile Coach Beinborn remains in his biggest role as Dad.
"I don't even yell at the games. I'm not in the car afterwards talking about what they did well," admits Mark Beinborn. "If I do I'll ask do you want dad or coach right now. If she says dad I say nothing about it-- if she says coach then I make her cry."
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The city of Davenport is drafting an ordinance that will allow it to regulate or even shut down massage parlors amid an uptick in illicit businesses in recent years. The city said the major concern is that bad actors can use massage parlors as a front for prostitution or even human trafficking.
Massage therapists say the ordinance will close a major loophole that allowed illegitimate businesses to operate under the radar.
"As a physical therapist or doctor of physical therapy, you have to present your licensure and have it present," said Dr. Dan Howes at the Institute of Therapeutic Massage & Wellness in Davenport. "So why would it be any different for massage therapy?"
Davenport is taking a page from other cities in the state like Des Moines, Iowa City and more recently, Clinton. A 2017 Iowa law gives municipalities the ability to enforce state-issued therapeutic massage licenses, and shut down businesses operating without one.
"We go to school, we get properly trained, we have to do continuing education every year to keep up our licenses and we take our profession very seriously," said Amanda Wheeler, who owns and manages Exotic Escape Spa & Salon in Davenport.
"We are here to help people, heal people," she said. "And we want people to know that they’re in a safe place when they do come in for a massage."
CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina –Most of us enjoy a good, juicy burger from time to time.
But imagine if eating red meat triggered a severe allergic reaction.
At one time, it was very rare reaction and limited to a few hundred people in the southern United States. But now, it's starting to migrate north and creating a health problem that is on the rise.
Like many Americans, Darrow enjoys a good steak.
"Three hours after that delicious beef tenderloin I started itching."
It got so bad she ended up in the ER.
"It felt like fire ants from head to toe."
Turns out Darrow was suffering from an unusual food allergy and she's not alone.
"We are confident of 5,000 cases," said Dr. Scott Commins, a Medicine and Pediatrics associate professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
"They had no idea that two hours after eating a hamburger that in another two hours they'd be covered in hives and have severe itching."
Dr. Commins and his team at the University of North Carolina wanted to know what was causing an allergic reaction in people like Darrow who never had a food allergy.
Dr. Commins says the culprit appears to be the Lone Star Tick, prevalent in the southeast.
They reached out to patients who reported reactions.
"Sure enough, over 90 percent of them reported recent tick bites."
It's called the alpha-gal allergy, named after a sugar found in the blood of certain animals such as cows and pigs.
"A tick takes a blood meal off a lower mammal like a deer or dog and then bites a human," explained Dr. Commins.
The tick has alpha-gal in its saliva, which can trigger an allergic reaction when that person eats red meat.
RESEARCH: Researchers are also trying to figure out what it is about ticks that causes this reaction. They're looking at deer blood, tick saliva, and bacteria from ticks as possible causes, and there's now research around the world, with cases of meat allergies resulting from tick bites coming from Australia and Europe, although as a result of different kinds of ticks. Once this is better understood, there's hope of someday having a treatment that could desensitize people through allergy shots. In the meantime, researchers say it's important that medical professionals other than allergists know about this condition. They say doctors need to understand that abdominal pain is a key marker of this allergy and that symptoms are delayed.
But there is some good news.
"I am so careful now when I go outside no matter where I am," said Darrow.
So she doesn't become a meal for a hungry tick again.
If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at email@example.com.
BURLINGTON, Iowa -- Shopko has announced it's filed for bankruptcy and will close dozens of stores.
Among the nearly 40 stores closing, Burlington and Fort Madison's location were included.
Both locations were set to close in April.
The company said the optical centers at both locations were expected to remain open, but in new locations.
GALENA, Illinois- Galena Mayor Terry Renner, confirmed to WQAD that Honeywell is closing its Galena operations by the end of the year.
According to the Mayor, “it came as a complete surprise, the city was blindsided”.
There are around 50 blue-collar workers and six administrators at the Galena operations. He says that number is down from more than 100 workers from years past.
The workers are not union represented.
Honeywell has a sizeable presence in the city but it is not the city’s biggest employer.
Mayor Terry Renner believes Signcraft is the biggest manufacturer in the city and that the Galena hospital, Midwest Medical Center, is the biggest employer.
Honeywell also closed operations in nearby Warren, Illinois, years ago.
The City has reached out to the Illinois Commerce Department to find out if the Illinois Rapid Response team will be assisting displaced workers in Galena with job training and other options.
DAVENPORT, Iowa-- “It's been very difficult but I just want people to know it doesn't stay forever," said high school student Madi White.
Madi was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer just three months ago. The tumor is inoperable, so Madi makes the trip to Iowa City everyday for treatment.
Somehow, she still finds time to make it to class.
“People are telling me (school's) not the most important thing right now but to me I want to keep it as the most important thing,” said White.
School is the one place Madi can pursue her passion for welding. She hopes to make welding a career one day.
“Madi started welding a couple years ago,” said Andy Zinn, Davenport West’s welding instructor. "(She) came in as a small little ninth grade girl that wanted to take welding class; she was in a class with all boys by herself."
Now, she is one of two girls in the class, and she doesn't shy away from the machines.
“I like actually being able to make things, do things, that other people don't know how to do,” said Madi.
Her current project is a bench with 26 ribbons, all a different color, for the 26 different kinds of cancer. The ribbon that symbolizes her cancer is a light grey. Madi didn't want the bench to only recognize her struggles, but everyone effected by cancer.
“The design that she came up with for all of those she counted out all the different types, all the different types of ribbons everything there and put all that together on paper we took it to the computer and she took it from there,” Said Zinn.
Cutting together what she loves, and the news that changed her life.
“The challenges that she's had are pretty tough to be getting up every morning and coming to school,” said Zinn. "She hasn't missed a beat and comes in every day working just like she has been."
She isn't giving up on her future, and neither is anyone else.
“It's just amazing that they can do so much, and make me feel normal,” said Madi.
Davenport West is hosting a spaghetti dinner that will be served from 4:30-6:30 on Friday, January 18th. The cost of the dinner is $5 per person. Desserts will be available, and a free-will donation is suggested for dessert. There will also be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. All the money raised will go towards covering, Madi's treatment costs.
TAYLOR RIDGE, ILLINOIS -- Rockridge High School choir director, Curtis Fischer- Oelschlaeger, won the National Federation of State High School Association's Outstanding Music Educator Award. The award is given to one teacher in each state every year, making Oelschlaeger the Illinois 2018 winner.
"It's very humbling," Oelschlaeger said. "Being this little small school on the west side of the state, to receive an honor like this is really pretty amazing."
"He really deserved it," Rockridge High School student Alex Minyard said. "I couldn't imagine anyone else getting it."
The award qualifies Fischer-Oelschlaeger for a national award in 2020.
"Next year it will go to the national level," Oelschlaeger said. "I will be compared against some of the other state recipients."
The Rockridge choir is four time state champions in music for it's school size.
"We've been state champions in music for the past four years for our size schools," Oelschlaeger said." So, we're hoping to continue the tradition."
"He's the one who taught me about music and how to make myself a better musician than I already was," Minyard said.
Oelschlaeger also directs the color guard and theater department.
"I don't do it for anything like that," Oelschlaeger said. "I do it for the love of music and for the kids, but when something like this comes out of it, it's nice too."
CLINTON, Iowa-- Sue Eastman doesn't claim to be the handiest homeowner on her street, but after just a glance at her driveway, most people would recognize she was lied to.
"He said it was in really bad shape. You have the worst parking lot I've ever seen," says Eastman.
"This is a flat out scam, absolutely," says Randy Meier, Director of Clinton County Sheriff's Seniors vs. Crime program.
It started back in July. Eastman says her driveway was in perfectly fine shape. A man came to her door.
"He said my driveway was the worst he's ever seen. He said it was crumbling," says Eastman.
Eastman agreed to let the man do some work he called resurfacing.
"All he did was put the oil on. He blew it off. A woman was with him, and then they put this can of oil on, brushed it on," says Eastman.
Meier says the oil was likely used motor oil, not resurfacing material.
The man put on the mystery oil twice, then charged Eastman $4,000.
She wrote the check hoping to never see the man again. And she didn't until the third week of December. This time the man said her garage needed serious repair.
"I said three or four times no, it's okay, it will outlive me. Oh no, we can have it done in no time at all. And then he wanted to fill in something over there, and I said no, no, nothing else," says Eastman.
"In the case we're talking about here, they wouldn't leave. They were persistent. They beat the victim down basically to get her to hand over money," says Meier.
The cost for "fixing" a crack in the garage floor and what the man called a leaky roof was $10,800 in total.
Right now police are investigating. They say the man who did this to Eastman has a record of scamming others.
"Maximum penalty for theft in the first degree is 10 years in prison," says Meier.
Now Eastman is left trying to fix a solution that never needed fixing in the first place.
"I got scammed probably worse than anyone has in the city of Clinton. It was a $10,800 lesson," says Eastman.
Police say the easiest way to spot a door to door scammer is if they do not have a permit. In Clinton County, door to door sales people are required by law to have a permit with them at all times.
Other red flags are if the person is pushy, and if they don't give you a written contract and receipt.