The latest local news

Illinois’ butter cow not the only butter carving at a state fair

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SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) - The butter cow is a tradition, and almost the stuff of legend, at the Illinois State Fair. But it is not unique.

The 2018 Illinois State Fair butter cow has a bicentennial theme this year.

That's fitting, since the cow made from hundreds of pounds of real butter has been a staple at the fair in Springfield for decades. It's been so long that Marla Behrends with the Midwest Dairy Association says most folks can't remember a fair without one.

But Illinois isn't the only state fair with something carved out of butter.

"In Minnesota, they actually carve the head of the contestants of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way pageant," Behrends said, adding that Minnesota has 12 Princess Kay busts, each sculpted from 90 bounds of butter.

There are also butter sculptures across the Midwest and the plains, but participants can also butter designs in New York and Texas.

"Of course, our neighbors in Iowa have a cow as well. And then they also have various other things. One year it was an astronaut," Behrends said. "There have been some sculptures in North Dakota, South Dakota, down in Oklahoma, and in Texas."

Visitors can see Illinois' butter cow at the Dairy Building at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield through Aug. 19.

‘The place is going to burn,’ arson suspect allegedly texted before fire

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(CNN) — Josh Castro waited until the last minute to escape the massive inferno near his house in Southern California.

Despite mandatory evacuation orders, Castro had stayed behind to protect his Lake Elsinore home from looters, he said. His wife, children and dog had evacuated as the bright orange flames from the Holy Fire swept through the canyon, sending ash and billowing black smoke in his neighborhood.

Then the flames moved up the hill, closer to his backyard, and Castro decided it was time to leave. A sheriff’s deputy banged on his door and told him it will only get worse, and Castro left his home of eight years and joined the line of cars snaking out of Lake Elsinore.

“I don’t know anything about the neighborhood,” Castro said Thursday. “Hopefully I have a house in the morning.”

As night fell Thursday, the Holy Fire had destroyed about a dozen structures since it erupted Monday atthe Cleveland National Forest.

In a week, it has scorched 10,236 acres and was 5% contained. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties, where more than 21,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders.

And authorities said things will only get worse, with the area forecast to have temperatures in the 90s and gusty winds of up to 25 mph.

“These conditions will increase the likelihood of extreme fire behavior as well,” the US Forest Service said.

Man is accused of arson

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, the man who allegedly started the fire, was charged Thursday with aggravated arson and criminal threats, among other offenses.

Clark was arrested this week on suspicion of setting off the blaze after he allegedly sent a text to a volunteer fire chief two weeks ago saying, “The place is going to burn.”

Footage of the arrest shows the suspect standing in handcuffs without a shirt on as his neighbors’ homes burn nearby.

Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Milligan says he’s known the suspect for decades, and has long warned that he posed a danger to the community.

Milligan said he was so wary of the suspect that he avoided going to the area of the remote Orange County canyon where he lives.

Clark came to his home two weeks ago to return items he said he had “borrowed” from the fire department, Milligan said.

When he told Clark he wanted nothing to do with him, the suspect swore at him and called him a jerk, he said.

The next morning, Milligan said, he got a mysterious text from an unknown number: “911 call sheriff.” Milligan called back and though the reception was poor in the canyon, he recognized Clark’s voice, he said. Later came an expletive-laden text that ended with the ominous warning: “The place is going to burn just like you planned.”

Milligan said he did not know what he meant, adding that Clark sent emails to other people in which he talked about burning something.

Clark is being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail and is expected to make a court appearance Friday. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Before he was arrested, Clark told a freelance cameraman he was asleep when the fire started and had no idea how it began.

‘This should be called the Holy Hell Fire’

Although it’s not the largest fire burning in the state, there are growing concerns about its effect on residential communities, including Lake Elsinore. Some small communities in Riverside County are under mandatory evacuation orders affecting about 7,500 residential structures, according to authorities.

Orange County supervisor, Todd Spitzer, said Clark “needs to suffer the fullest punishment of the law.”

“We know this district burns, but it should never burn because of an intentional act. This shouldn’t be called the Holy Jim fire, it should be called the Holy Hell fire,” he said.

Fire officials warned residents to heed evacuation orders.

“Even if you’re miles away, you want to be prepared if you’re near the fire area or in an environment that can burn,” said Thanh Nguyen with the SoCal Team One Fire Management Team, who suggested having a packed bag ready to go.

Over a dozen fires are burning in California

In addition to the Holy Fire, firefighters in California are battling 15 large fires.

The largest fire in state history is the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires in Northern California. That blaze has burned 305,152 acres and injured two firefighters, and was 52% contained by Thursday night.

The second biggest fire is the Carr Fire in Shasta County, also in Northern California. The deadly fire has been burning for more than two weeks and consumed 178,752 acres as of Thursday night. It is 49% contained, and has killed eight people, including three firefighters.

The third largest is the Ferguson Fire, near Yosemite National Park, incinerating more than 95,000 acres. The fire has lasted more than three weeks and killed two people.

Officer Involved Shooting In Galesburg

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Shots fired (MGN)

Galesburg- One person is under arrest after an officer involved shooting.

Police say it happened around 3:45 p.m. Thursday August 9th on the 400 block of North Cedar Street as police were trying to do a traffic stop.

Investigators say the suspect tried to swerve, and hit an officer.

No one was injured in the shooting, but an officer was taken to the hospital.

Since then he has been released.

The suspect was taken into custody, and the shooting is still under investigation.


E-sports and virtual reality center officially opens Friday

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa--Andrew Houkal has been employed by Paradigm for less than a week, and he already feels his like he’s taking his gaming skills to a new level.

“It brings a whole different dynamic of playing video games with people and playing video games in general,” says Houkal.

E-sports and virtual reality center coming to Davenport

Paradigm, a virtual reality and E-sport experience help its first ribbon cutting in Downtown Davenport off 2nd and Iowa. The center allows players to compete online or roam virtual reality by themselves, but owner Steve Grubbs says it is so much more.

“We just secured our license to have sexual harassment training in virtual reality. So you can take people and put them in actual situations and they can respond,” says Grubbs, who expects to start offering those services in October.

The center will also offer virtual reality science torturing for students next month.

Paradigm will host its grand opening Friday, August 10 at 5 p.m.

The Score Preview – Central DeWitt Football

WQAD News -

Central DeWitt hired a new football coach in the off season.  Ryan Streets is taking over the Sabers program. Streets was part of the Central DeWitt program back when they won back to back conference championships in 2007-08.  The Sabers hope the changes are the key to success.

Downtown business on path to recovery after Burlington fire

WQAD News -

BURLINGTON, Iowa-- After a fire ravaged a historic Burlington building, neighboring businesses are trying to recover.

Doreen Roy, who owns the Gypsi on Jefferson, said she's dealing with water damage and a musty smell.

"It's a little disheveled," she said. "This is not normally what it looks like."

Inside the small boutique, racks of clothes are packed towards the front of the store. A half dozen green fans are whirring in the back.

We were actually locked out of the building for a few days," Roy explained. "They blocked it off so we were not able to get in here because of the danger of the building.”

Roy said she needs to replace the carpet, and she still has water in the basement from the fire hoses.

Outside, the Tama Building sits charred and falling apart.

"It’s a magnificent, majestic building. And it’s sad to see history destroyed," she said. "It's just hard to see things go backwards when you're moving forward."

The Tama Building was nearing the end of its renovation when it caught fire this past weekend.

The street is still blocked off around it, and Roy worries the loss of the Tama Building will have an enduring effect on the neighborhood.

"It's worrisome," she said. "Will we be able to sustain our business on this block?"
Roy said she hopes to be back open in about a week.

Wright Brothers exhibit takes flight at Rock Island museum

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - Rock Island now has a connection to Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk.

Orville Wright's personal account of that first flight is on display as part of a new exhibit at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

The exhibit also includes an original piece of cloth from the wing of the Wright Flyer and the report of the world's first powered flight.

"You know about the Wright brothers, but you never saw the significance of their achievement," says Thomas Cain, co-director of the Rock Island Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, "This display gives a more in depth learning about them."

The Wright brothers exhibit will be on display until fall, when it will be replaced by a new one on medical history.

The museum is located in the former Christian Science church on 22nd Avenue.

Quad City businesses are jumping on board with an environmentally friendly trend

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  Baked Beer & Bread Co. has now jumped on board  the straw-less movement.

The Village of East Davenport restaurant  will no longer give out straws with drinks, unless a customer specifically asks for one.

General manager Cody Hootman decided to use his passion for the environment to incorporate it into the restaurant. He decided to change the policy a month ago and says it's making all the difference.

"We've easily saved thousands," Hootman says. "We probably have about 200 people that come here a day, more on the weekends, that's 1,2,3,4,5 drinks a person. It really adds up on how many straws we are reducing."

Baked has also stopped using foam take home boxes. They now use to-go boxes made from wheat.

Another restaurant who offers a sustainable alternative is The Coffee Revolution in Davenport. They now use paper straws with their drinks and offer bamboo straws for purchase.

Whitey's Ice Cream now has signs up in stores telling customers they can ask for no straw with their shake or malt.

In the U.S, 500 million plastic straws are used every day, according to Better Alternative Now, an analysis done by several pollution research groups.

Rauner blames Chicago mayor for ‘failure’ on violence

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has “failed horribly” on public safety after gunfire in the city last weekend injured more than 70 people and killed at least 11.

The Republican said Thursday that Chicago police have not received sufficient personnel, equipment or staffing assistance to be effective.

Rauner says he’s “disappointed” in Democrat Emanuel. Rauner says public safety is an officeholder’s first duty and that Chicago’s leaders “have fundamentally failed, failed horribly.”

A spokesman for Emanuel did not immediately respond. Chicago police added 400 officers to affected neighborhoods with plans for 200 this weekend.

Rauner made his comments after saying for a second day he would not dispatch the National Guard Chicago. He says Illinois State Police help patrol some neighborhoods and have jurisdiction on Chicago-area expressways.


Man donates kidney to wife of 30 years

WQAD News -

SEATTLE – Lesley and Steve Kennedy are an active Seattle couple who share lots of laughs, two sons and a hunger for adventure.  However, for the last two years Lesley has been waiting for a kidney transplant.  That's where the love part of their story comes in.

"We're a team," said the couple, together at their home in mid-July.  "We can truly say we are a team.  We were a team before, but now we're really a team."

"I've been sleeping next to this kidney for thirty years," said Lesley.  "It knows me.  So I'm hoping it stays with me for a good long time."The Kennedys will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this October, and this year's will be especially important.

They both love to travel, but in the last few years the couple has been grounded.  Lesley has Polycystic Kidney Disease , a genetic condition that causes her kidney's to fail over time.  Earlier this year, she went on dialysis and needed a kidney transplant to survive.

"It's not easy asking someone for a kidney," Lesley told KCPQ.  "It's not something you just walk up to anybody on the street and say hey, would you be willing to give me a kidney?"

Lesley's colleague along with her sister, Lisa Meriwether both offered to donate their kidneys.

"Why?" said Meriwether.  "Because she's my sister and I'd do anything for her."

Unfortunately, neither woman was a match.  That's when Steve stepped up to the plate.

"It's probably the best thing I've ever done in my life, " said Steve Kennedy.

Lisa recalls seeing Steve visit Lesley after the surgery for the first time in the hospital.  "It was one of the most touching things I've seen," said Meriwether.  "It was pretty amazing."

It's been several weeks since the surgery and the couple are now back home.  Lesley is recovering and will be on medication for the rest of her life , but they're looking forward to planning their next big adventure.

"On my list is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro," said Steve.  "I've asked my son if he wants to and he's up to it."

The Kennedys say waiting for a deceased donor can take five to seven years, which is time Lesley may not have had.  Lucky for her, Steve wasn't just her match in life, he was the match that saved it.

"I've been sleeping next to this kidney for thirty years," said Lesley.  "It knows me.  So I'm hoping it stays with me for a good long time."

Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD affects about 200,000 people in the United States each year.  Steve and Lesley hope that by sharing their story, people learn more about the condition and consider becoming an organ donor.

Click here if you'd like to learn more about becoming a living donor.


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