WQAD News

Tracking more wet weather before chilly winds return this weekend

Flood warnings continue along several area rivers including the Mississippi and Rock. Crests are occurring now and will continue this week. Be prepared for road closures and detours in these areas. For more information on river levels go to https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=DVN

Some welcome news for our flood-ravaged fields and rivers as the axis of heavy rainfall anticipated in the next couple of days will remain more south of the area.

Much of the day has remained dry as planned as a passing front has resulted in no more than some clouds and a slight wind shift this afternoon.  The result has been another mild day with temperatures this afternoon in the 60s in many areas.

However, that same front will quickly become active by this evening with more showers and a few embedded thunderstorms developing.  The best coverage is expected just south of I80 corridor where a trace to a quarter of an inch of rainfall is likely from north to south.  Overnight, the coverage looks very spotty so not everyone will see that chance.

On Friday is when we’ll not only see some much cooler temperatures but a much better chance for widespread rain as well.  We’re still on track to see this rain develop during the afternoon and evening hours, when much of the area will pick up at least a quarter to three-quarters of an inch the further south you are.  Much lighter amounts the farther north you go.

This will lead to a breezy and much colder Saturday with highs limited to the 40s. More sunshine returns to finish out the weekend with temperatures rising closer to 50 by Sunday.

Next week our temperatures will rebound once again only to end with another round of possible showers and thunderstorms later next week.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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

The $768 million Powerball jackpot has a winner in Wisconsin

(CNN) — The $768.4 million Powerball has a winner — and it’s probably not you.

Unless you are a Wisconsin resident who got all winning numbers: 16, 20, 37, 44, 62 and the Powerball number 12.

A single ticket sold in the state matched all six numbers to win the third largest jackpot in US lottery history, lottery officials said.

“Due to strong ticket sales, the jackpot climbed to an estimated $768.4 million at the time of the drawing with a cash option of $477 million,” the Multi-State Lottery Association said in a statement. “The lucky ticket holder(s) will have the choice between an estimated annuity of $768.4 million, paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or a lump sum payment of $477 million. Both prize options are before taxes.”

The last winning drawing was on December 26, 2018, and the jackpot has climbed since then.

If you happen to be the lucky winner, you can buy 39 of the world’s most expensive car, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire.

And even if you didn’t match all the numbers, you could still be a winner.

“Participating lotteries are reminding players to check their tickets for one of the nine ways to win. In Wednesday’s drawing alone, more than 5.4 million tickets won prizes ranging from $4 to $2 million,” the Multi-State Lottery Association said.

In Wednesday’s drawing, seven tickets won a $1 million prize by matching all five white balls but missing the red Powerball. Two other tickets matched all five white balls and doubled the prize to $2 million due to Power Play option for an additional $1.

Disney to ban oversized strollers, smoking inside theme parks

Disney will soon ban oversized strollers, smoking, and “loose or dry ice” inside its theme parks in Florida and California.

The changes, effective May 1, were confirmed in a statement on Disney’s website.

Strollers larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long will no longer be allowed inside the parks.

The current policy allows all strollers smaller than 36 inches.

“The good news – many strollers on the market, including many double jogging strollers, fit within these size guidelines,” Disney said in a statement on its website.

Disney also said “stroller wagons will no longer be permitted.”

The changes come as Disney prepares to open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on both coasts over the next few months. The new rules for strollers should help ease congestion when the new lands open to guests.

Also beginning May 1, designated smoking areas inside the parks will be removed. Disney said there will be designated smoking areas outside the theme park entrances.

Effective today, Disney has also banned “loose or dry ice” inside its parks. Guests needing ice to keep snacks cool can request complimentary cups of ice at drink locations inside the parks.

US will reassign border inspectors as illegal crossings and migrants seeking asylum rise

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Trump administration said Wednesday it will temporarily reassign several hundred border inspectors as beleaguered forces already stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border struggle to keep pace with the growing number of migrant families who are showing up at the border in poor health and turning themselves in to agents to request asylum.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the reassignment of 750 border inspectors would mean longer waits at crossings as the busy Easter holiday nears but that it was necessary to address what he called “an operational crisis.” The reassigned officers will process migrants, provide transportation and perform hospital watches for migrants who require medical attention. It is unknown when they will return to their regular duties.

“There will be impacts to traffic at the border,” McAleenan said at a news conference in El Paso, Texas, which, after years of relative calm, has quickly emerged as the second-busiest corridor for illegal crossings after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. “There will be a slowdown in the processing of trade. There will be wait times in our pedestrian and passenger vehicle lanes.”

McAleenan spoke in front of the metal fencing that separates El Paso from Juarez, Mexico, after a delay that followed the apprehension of several migrants who had crossed a shallow spot on the Rio Grande nearby and turned themselves in.

Arrests along the Mexican border jumped to 66,450 in February, up 149 percent from a year earlier, while arrests in the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, which stretches across New Mexico and much of West Texas, were about eight times higher than they were a year ago.

March is shaping up to be even busier. McAleenan said the agency was on track to make 100,000 arrests or denials of entry during the month, up about 30 percent from February and about double the same period last year. About 55,000 will have arrived as families, including 40,000 children.

The commissioner said the border was at “a breaking point,” language that is consistent with the administration’s portrayal of a state of crisis. President Donald Trump last month declared a national emergency to obtain military funds for construction of his prized border wall.

The political polarization continued to play out Wednesday in El Paso as a small group of protesters erected an inflatable caricature of the president and shouted in Spanish “you are not alone” to the migrants being led away.

While arrests are still well below highs of the early 2000s, the surge of families and children has tested U.S. authorities.

Customs and Border Protection is taking more than 60 migrants to the hospital each day, McAleenan said. In the previous four days, he said infants have had 105-degree fevers, a 2-year-old suffered seizures in the desert and a 40-year-old man suffering organ failure refused surgery.

A few hundred yards from where McAleenan spoke, about 600 migrants were held in a football field-sized pen lined with concertina wire under the shade of a bridge that connects El Paso to Juarez. When reporters arrived, migrants lined the fence and some yelled they were hungry. Minutes later, a catering van delivered ham-and-cheese and picadillo sandwiches.

The 750 inspectors will be drawn from offices across the entire U.S. border. They will remain inspectors in name but will assist in border patrol, effectively shifting work hours from ports of entry to detention work.

Nationwide, Customs and Border Protection has 23,000 officers working at 328 ports of entry, including at airports around the country. But the agency has had the most trouble recruiting officers to work at southern border, where crossings were understaffed before the current surge of migrant families, largely due to low recruitment and high rates of attrition.

In Arizona, the ports where most of the country’s produce comes through have struggled with low staffing, drawing the ire of trade organizations that say it slows down commerce.

In El Paso, drivers can wait for hours to cross back to the U.S.

The reassignment of border inspectors follows the Border Patrol’s unusual move to close all highway checkpoints in its El Paso sector, which stretches across 268 miles (429 kilometers) in Texas and New Mexico.

U.S. officials say the checkpoint closures are a temporary measure to handle the increase in families and unaccompanied children entering the country illegally.

The orange traffic cones used to divert traffic off Interstate 10 into the canopy-covered border checkpoint west of Las Cruces, New Mexico, now block the entrance, signaling to drivers that they don’t have to stop.

The Border Patrol operates 34 permanent checkpoints along the entire Mexican border and another 103 “tactical” stops, often cones and signs that appear for brief periods, the Government Accountability Office said in a 2017 report.

While checkpoints account for only a sliver of Border Patrol arrests — 2 percent from 2013 to 2016 — they also handled 43 percent of drug busts during that time, according to the report.

At a gun range operated by the City of Las Cruces and used by Border Patrol agents, grandmother and Picacho Gun Club volunteer Cindy Pollock said she first noticed the checkpoint closures Thursday.

She thought the agents might be off training. When she heard they were reassigned to process migrants, she said she wasn’t surprised.

“There’s only so many officers and there’s nothing they can do,” said Pollock, who believes the current wave of migrants draws resources away from anti-crime efforts. “My husband said ‘Boy, just think about how many drugs are getting through today.'”

Shooter who killed 7 at California Christian college dies in prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man serving a life sentence for fatally shooting seven people at a small Northern California vocational college has died in prison.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Wednesday that 50-year-old One Goh died at California State Prison-Sacramento on March 20. CDCR spokeswoman Vicky Waters said a cause of death hasn’t been determined. She did not respond to requests for more details.

Goh was also convicted of injuring three people during the April 2012 shooting at the Christian-affiliated Oikos University in Oakland. Police said Goh was angry with school administrators for expelling him and refusing to refund his tuition.

Goh pleaded no contest to murder charges in 2017 after a judge declared him mentally competent to stand trial after previously finding him unfit in 2013 and 2015.

No timetable right now for completion of Assumption-St. Ambrose stadium

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Assumption High School leaders say it plans to break ground on Phase II of the St. Vincent's Center property in the summer of 2019.

The school's board of directors approved the $9 million project on Monday, January 28. Phase one of the project was completed nearly three years ago, in September of 2016.

We had Breakfast With Assumption High School President Andy Craig Thursday, March 28 on Good Morning Quad Cities at the Village Inn at 53rd and Elmore.

The school is teaming up with St. Ambrose University to use the complex for its sports teams. The complex is located north of West Central Park Avenue and Gaines Street. Craig says construction on phase two won't be done for a while, and there's no timetable for when it will be complete.

"Our goal is to get get it done as quickly as possible, but that's dependent on a lot of different factors," Craig said. "If I was to say, 'The goal date was to be done a year from this summer with phase one of that, which would be the 500 seat bleachers, the practice field, the track, the goal would be to be done sooner, but you might have to obtain something on a later date."

St. Ambrose has a lease agreement with Assumption to use the fields at the complex. Both teams currently use Brady Street Stadium.

Twitter is considering labeling Trump tweets that violate its rules

(CNN) — Twitter is considering labeling tweets that violate its rules but should remain on the platform because they’re in the public interest.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust made the announcement during an on-stage interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday.

The social media company is trying to find a way of maintaining its standards while adding context to tweets from politicians and other figures that may be offensive but are important for public debate.

Twitter has come under fire from some critics who say President Donald Trump’s tweets often violate its rules against bullying, dehumanization and threatening harm.

In response to a question about whether Twitter’s current approach means Trump gets total immunity for whatever he says, Gadde said the social media platform wants to find a way to keep tweets up for their newsworthiness, while also noting if a tweet violates their rules.

“One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?'” she said, without naming the US president. “How can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually a violation of our rules and it is serving a particular purpose in remaining on the platform.”

Trump regularly insults people on Twitter. He called a former staffer a “dog” and posted an altered video from a WWE wrestling match showing Trump beating up a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head.

Though similar tweets by others might be removed for violating Twitter’s rules, the platform currently grants an exemption for world leaders and tweets it considers newsworthy.

Gadde said that doesn’t give leaders complete immunity, and it would draw the line on some content.

“An example would be a direct violent threat against an individual that we wouldn’t leave on the platform because of the danger it poses to that individual,” she said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how it would go about labeling content or when the new system would be rolled out.

Social media companies have been struggling with how to police speech on their platforms for years, but the pressure has ratcheted up in recent months.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced it was banning all “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Facebook and Instagram.

The move comes less than two weeks after the suspect in the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques streamed the massacre live on the platform. A manifesto allegedly written by the suspect revealed white nationalist views.

Gadde said Twitter is considering limiting the visibility of dehumanizing tweets. A user would have to click through in order to view the tweet.

This, she said, would “force people to acknowledge what this is and make the choice of whether to see it or not versus it just being on the platform with full visibility.”

Stutzke’s Stats: The Siren Debate

We’re all used to hearing the roar of an outdoor warning siren during the spring and summer months, but do we fully understand the meaning behind the message it is trying to convey?

Tornado sirens have been a blessing in many small-town communities, especially those where cell phone reception is poor and the population is aging. The siren serves as the first line of defense, letting the population know something dangerous is imminent.

In the 1950s during the Cold War, the sirens served another purpose, warning of an impending bomb attack. While we don’t have that specific threat to our population today, often communities are raising their own tornado siren policies that differ from neighboring communities, causing confusion. Let’s examine the pros and cons of outdoor warning sirens.

The sirens do a fantastic job of getting our attention with their loud, blaring noise, telling us a threat exists. What exactly is that threat though? If you were to survey the population, the majority of the answers to that question would point to an ongoing tornado that is ready to strike. Still, there remains a considerable number of questions, including the type of threat and when the situation is “all clear”.

In the last several years, a trend has been changing the way these outdoor warning sirens have been used. Communities are now adding severe thunderstorm criteria as a valid reason for activating the community siren system. Many have established their own guidelines that can and do often times differ with neighboring communities.

Taking a look at the example above, Town A activates their sirens for tornadoes, damaging winds in excess of 70 MPH, and all storms in general. Meanwhile, Town B only activates its sirens for tornadoes. Why? The tornado and damaging wind part is self-explanatory, both of those elements are considered life-threatening, but all storms? Really? Yes! It’s all in the name “Outdoor Warning Siren“. Notice nothing is mentioned about them being used indoors? There’s a reason for that.

Manufacturers of outdoor sirens design them for one purpose, to be heard effectively outdoors in a number of different directions.  They are meant to alert individuals who may be outside that threatening weather is approaching, directing them to move inside and seek shelter. They were never designed to be heard inside our homes. Those communities that have a policy of sounding their outdoor sirens for all storms have a valid reason to do so, as they are alerting individuals who are outdoors, perhaps attending a large event, that danger is imminent.

The best line of defense against severe weather is having one of these in your home. A NOAA weather radio will relay life-saving information as soon as the National Weather Service issues a warning for your specific area. They are easy to program, only alert your specific location, and are very inexpensive. You can even customize the alerts that you would like to receive.

Another good option is the StormTrack 8 Weather App for iOS, click here and for Android, click here. Perfect for when you are on the go. You’ll always know what type of weather is headed your way.

The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities has done a fantastic job of working together with local city leaders to make sure that the metro and surrounding communities are using a unified siren warning system. The complete action plan document can be viewed here. 

For the Quad City Metro sirens are sounded for:

  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms with winds of 70 MPH or greater
  • Golf ball sized hail or larger

Do you know what the siren policy is in your community? Regardless, anytime you hear the outdoor warning sirens sound, that’s when its time to gather more information on the situation and assess whether or not you need to take action.  Our policy remains the same here at WQAD News 8. When severe weather threatens the area, we’ll be on air with the information you need from the people you trust.

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

Florida Mayor Wayne Messam announces 2020 presidential bid

(CNN) — Wayne Messam, the little-known mayor of Miramar, Florida, announced Thursday that he is running for president, launching a campaign that will look to accomplish the unlikely: Turning the mayor of the 140,000-person town into the next president of the United States.

Messam, in a highly produced video released to CNN, tells voters that he is running for president and rails against what he calls a “broken” federal government in Washington, DC.

“When you have a senior citizen who can’t afford her prescription medicine, Washington is broken. When our scientists are telling us if we don’t make drastic changes today, the quality of our air will be in peril, Washington is broken,” Messam says in the video. “Everyday people are graduating from universities with crippling debt stifling their opportunity for financial mobility, that is what’s broken with this country.”

He adds: “America belongs to all of us. The promise of America belongs to all of us. That’s why I’m going to be running for president. To be your champion.”

In an interview on CNN “New Day” announcing his bid, Messam said America needs “the leadership that will make these issues a priority and have the political will to solve these issues for the American people.”

He pointed to Miramar’s fast growing economy and argued that his city passed a living wage.

Messam’s entrance into the race, two weeks after he launched an exploratory committee, makes him the longest of longshots in an already crowded field of Democrats — including more than a handful of senators — vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. Messam, a 44-year-old African American Democrat who has led Miramar since 2015, is not the only mayor in the race, given South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is pursuing a bid, as are Julian Castro, formerly the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and Cory Booker, formerly the mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

In a nod to the fact that Messam is largely unknown outside of South Florida, the video focuses extensively on the mayor’s personal story, noting that his parents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica, his father worked as a contract sugar cane cutter in Florida and, through their work, he went on to play on the national championship winning Florida State University football team in 1993.

“You know, I can see him looking around in these fields envisioning that his children would be successful one day and they wouldn’t have to suffer the way to he suffered,” Messam says in the video, which was produced by Seven Knots Productions. “I’m passionate about the American Dream because it’s not a fictitious thing for me it’s real for me.”

“I’m the son of immigrants. My father came to this country from Jamaica … chasing the American dream, and I’m living that American dream. But I see that American dream slipping away for a lot of Americans,” Messam told “New Day.”

The Democrat, who currently owns a construction business with his wife, also talks in the video about being Miramar’s first black mayor and getting to this place in life after growing up in “The Muck,” an area around Lake Okeechobee where sugar cane grows.

A campaign spokesman tells CNN that Messam’s decision to announce on March 28 is also significant: It is the anniversary of what is known as Martin Luther King Jr.’s final march, when King marched with sanitation workers who were on strike in Memphis.

In an interview with CNN ahead of his decision to announce an exploratory committee, Messam acknowledge the longshot odds of his candidacy.

“I see it to be a unique opportunity for Americans to look at another option of leadership,” he said. “When you look at what is going on in Washington, the status quo is who is stepping up to be our next president. … When you look at a mayor, Americans see mayors favorably. We are at the front line of what Americans are dealing with every day.”

Messam traveled to South Carolina earlier this month as part of his 2020 exploration and, according to a campaign spokeswoman, the mayor plans to travel back to South Carolina and make a trip to Nevada in the coming weeks.

The repeat trips to South Carolina are going to be a staple of Messam’s campaign, aides say, because the mayor believes his best path to victory is by consolidating the largely African American vote in the state to show viability.

Cory Alpert, a South Carolina resident who has been talking to Messam, said that the voters in the state have yet to coalesce around a front runner and that the state is wide open.

“Obviously he is a dark house, it is a longshot campaign,” he said. “But I discredit anyone who says they know what is going to happen in the next year. It is the kind of year where someone can come out of nowhere.”

Messam, who played wide receiver for Florida State, also plans to lean on his connections to athletes to raise money and support as he mounts his longshot campaign. That includes, according to the Messam campaign, former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and journeyman fullback Zack Crockett.

Messam is progressive on guns, immigration and the environment, and he supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

The mayor was part of a group that sued the state of Florida in 2018 over a law that restricted his ability to create municipal gun regulations after the mayor wanted a new amphitheater in his city to be a “gun-free venue.”

Messam has also pushed back against Trump’s immigration proposals and, in 2017, he proposed requiring immigration officials have a warrant to enter city-owned buildings and some schools.

“We want to make sure that our parents at least, regardless of their immigration status, that is one less fear that they have — in regards to the prospect of their child being disrupted due to what we have seen going on across the country,” Messam said at the time.

On the environment, Messam signed on to a letter from more than 400 mayors that rebuked Trump for leaving the Paris Climate Accord.

Man sues for $1.3 million over boss’s ‘stinky’ farts

Can regular farting equal bullying?

An appeals court in Australia will have to decide based on a nearly $1.3 million lawsuit filed in 2017 by the former employee of a construction company, who refers to his ex-boss as “Mr. Stinky.”

David Hingst, a 56-year-old former engineer of Melbourne’s Construction Engineering, says supervisor Greg Short would enter Hingst’s small, windowless office to fart “five or six times a day” as part of a larger conspiracy to terminate his employment, the Washington Post reports.

Before Hingst was eventually laid off, “I would be sitting with my face to the wall and he would come into the room … fart behind me and walk away,” the engineer says, per News.com.au, adding he eventually sprayed deodorant at his superior.

“I may have done it once or twice, maybe … but I can’t recall,” Short told the Supreme Court of Victoria last year.

He said if he had farted on or near Hingst, it was not with bad intentions, per the New York Daily News. The court also heard of alleged phone calls in which Short called Hingst “an idiot,” per the BBC, but ultimately Justice Rita Zammit dismissed the suit last April, noting there was “some inappropriate behavior in the office, including passing wind,” but that it “would not necessarily amount to bullying.”

Hingst appealed, and the Court of Appeal heard his claims of harassment, psychiatric trauma, and “severe stress” on Monday. “[Short] thrusted his bum at me while he’s at work,” he told the judges, per News.com.au. A ruling is expected Friday. (This lawsuit claimed a US man was fired for farting too much.)

Flood water limits access to Modern Woodmen Park one week before opening day

DAVENPORT, Iowa - The flood walls at Modern Woodmen Park in downtown Davenport are keeping water from the flooding Mississippi River out of the ballpark.

The new issue is that the flood water is also keeping people out of the ballpark.

On March 27, Jacqueline Holm, General Manager of Quad City River Bandits told WQAD News 8 that, out of the nearly 25 full-time employees at Modern Woodmen Park, only about half are able to make it into the office.

"Due to the conditions of what is going at Modern Woodman Park, the flood wall is completely up," said Holm. "We are completely enclosed."

Operations-based employees are on site, while employees who can work remotely, using the internet, are working from home.

Holm said teams need to use ladders and a special staircase provided by the City of Davenport to access the ballpark.

With opening night on April 4 quickly approaching, leaders at the ballpark are now trying to figure out how to get people into the stadium.

Holm said the players are expected to arrive in the Quad Cities on Saturday, and practice will begin on Monday, April 1.

Leaders are meeting on Friday, March 29 to try and find an alternate way to get staff, players, equipment, deliveries and fans into the stadium.

The ballpark has used a bridge in the past, however trains in the area need to be stopped in order to install the bridge.

In the past, when the river is above a certain point, trains are stopped and the bridge can be installed.

On Thursday morning, the river was sitting at 18.33 feet and trains were still moving through the water in that area.

While the river is expected to rise even further before game day, Holm said they need to look at all of their options.

"Sometimes (the chance of canceling games is) 50-50, and until you can get a little closer to that day, hedging your bets at this point is not something we are prepared to do." said Holm.  "We are, of course, prepared to play baseball, and we will operate as such until we hear different."

Holm said the City of Davenport has been very cooperative, but both the ballpark and the city are at the mercy of Mother Nature and of the trains.

Aside from the flooding, Holm said the ballpark is in great shape and is ready to go for the new season of baseball.

State lawmakers vow action after Smollett charges dropped

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) -- Lawmakers in Springfield vowed to take action Wednesday after prosecutors dropped all charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett in a case that drew international condemnation.

Smollett claimed he was attacked in Chicago in late January by two men wearing red hats similar to the "Make America Great Again" hats worn by supporters of President Donald Trump. He said he was targeted because he’s a famous black actor who is openly gay.

A grand jury in Chicago earlier this month indicted Smollett on numerous felony charges, including filing false police reports. Prosecutors from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx's Office dropped those charges Tuesday with little explanation.

State Rep. Michael McAuliffe, R-Chicago, said plans a bill to end state tax credits for film productions that include Smollett.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said while that bill would likely be found unconstitutional because it targets one person, the case highlights the broad discretion given to prosecutors throughout the state.

“It’s like they’ve been exposed and there’s no telling how many of these deferred prosecutions have been given to the well connected,” Ford said.

Ford wants to see such deferred prosecutions used for more people accused of nonviolent crimes, not just wealthy celebrities or those with political connections.

Related: Chicago police union wants a federal investigation into Smollett case

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, took aim at Foxx's office.

“Sixteen fake hate crimes is not a parking ticket to be swept under the rug, but there’s more to it because there’s a pattern of this behavior from this office,” he said.

Skillicorn said he’s filed open records requests with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to determine if Smollett’s case was dropped for political reasons.

“The dropping of the charges against Mr. Smollett for staging this fake racial attack represents the worst of Chicago’s corrupt political system,” he said in a statement. “I wonder if the State’s Attorney would have been so forgiving of a Trump supporter for orchestrating a fake hate crime like this."

State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, doesn’t live in Chicago, but his district pays taxes to Cook County. He said the decision to drop the charges was upsetting because of the resources that were used to investigate the case.

“It’s a total injustice when you talk about people using their power, their connectedness, their privilege to get a different standard, it’s an outrage,” Morrison said.

Ford said the case is offensive to many people.

“You have the LGBTQ community, you have the white community, you have the black community that clearly can say they were offended by this,” Ford said.

Foxx told Chicago-area public radio that the chances Smollett would have gotten a prison sentence were slim.

“We have to be mindful and careful that we have to give due process that we would give to a celebrity or a non-celebrity, notoriety or not notoriety,” Foxx said. “The fact that people pick and choose which cases are most important I think breaks my heart.”

Chicago’s police superintendent and mayor both criticized the decision to drop the charges. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it a "whitewash of justice."

Brea Beal wins Ms. Basketball, Steamwheelers prepare for Green Bay, Illinois Spring Football Practice

Brea Beal wins her third straight Ms. Basketball. She ties Candace Parker as the only two players to win the award three straight years.  Beal then competed in the McDonald's All-American game where she scored 6 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.

Quad City Steamwheelers are looking up to clean up penalties on both sides of the ball as they get ready to host Green Bay this weekend.

Lovie Smith and the illini open up spring football practice.  illinois is hoping that some junior leadership and position battles will lead to better tings on the field for the Illini.

Erie-Prophetstown beats Alleman in softball 7-5.

Davenport creates task force to revitalize riverfront

DAVENPORT, Iowa- The Davenport City Council has voted to advance the riverfront project.

Wednesday, March 27, the Davenport city council voted to create a new task force for the project.

An eight-person task force will work to hire a firm and finalize design plans for the first portion of the river-vision project

The area around the sky-walk will be an activity or playground area.

A  separate team will be created to find funding for the project.

There isn’t a set timeline for when plans could be finalized and construction could begin but the Downtown Davenport partnership says construction on the riverfront could start as early as next year.

Crash ties up traffic at John Deere Road and 16th Street

MOLINE, Illinois --  Two vehicles were involved in a crash at John Deere Road and 16th Street.

The crash happened after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. Multiple ambulances were on scene along with crews from Moline's police and fire departments.

Witnesses on scene said a Dodge Caravan collided with an SUV at what they perceived to be at about 45 or 50 mph.   A witness also told News 8 that three people were in the van.

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One person was apprehended at the scene.

Two people in the SUV were taken from the scene via ambulance.  There was no word on any of the passengers' conditions.

‘Unmasking brain injury’ display gives insight into patients’ journey to recovery

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Brain injury survivors are using art to express their personal struggles as they journey to recovery.

'Unmasking Brain Injury' is part of a traveling art display at Genesis where patients decorate their own masks to show what they're going through.  It showcases different masks made by brain injury survivors across the state.

Each mask tells its own story and gives people a glimpse into what life is like after a brain injury.

"I think that brain injury is kind of a misunderstood area and it impacts people's lives so deeply and people aren't aware of it until it happens to them, or to a friend, or a family member, or a coworker," said speech therapist Claire Motteo, "so this is a great way to see a glimpse into what brain injury is and how it really impacts people."

A patient who made one of the masks said hers represents what's going on inside.

"It's split in half," said Ali Kline, "and it means the sun always shines after the storm, and I have the sunshine on one side and the storm on the other."

The masks will be on display for a week at Genesis Physical Therapy and Wellness in Bettendorf.

Click here to see the masks on display and read about their creators.

YOUR HEALTH: Testing an individualized cancer vaccine

SAN DIEGO, California – Researchers at UC-San Diego Health and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology are working on a cancer vaccine that's specific for each patient.

It's specifically created according to a patient's own cancer mutations and immune system.

It's a clinical trial that is only for people with metastatic cancer like Tamara Strauss.

In fact, she is patient number one.

"Having cancer, I mean anything that presents itself as a solution or a cure, you're going to jump on the bandwagon."

Tamara beat pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer twice.

Now it's back, and it's stage four.

Her doctors say everyone`s cancer and immune system are different, so they are treating them differently.

"If we were going to think about curing patients with metastatic disease, with advanced cancer, then we had to design therapies that were really individual," explained Dr. Ezra Cohen, associate director of Translational Science at UC-San Diego Health's Moores Cancer Center.

The team tested Tamara's tumor and identified neoantigens, or mutations her immune system responds to.

They cultured the neoantigens with Tamara's T-cells and gave her a series of three vaccines.

Dr. Cohen said they worried the T-cells would reach the tumor and be deactivated.  So they added keytruda.

"What the keytruda does, is that essentially, it keeps those T-cells from falling asleep once they get to the tumor, and so hopefully, once that happens, those T-cells destroy the cancer," said Dr. Cohen.

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   Vaccines are a form of immunotherapy.   They are usually given during the beginning stages, but that is changing.   In a new study, there are vaccines that can be used to help not only stop the growth of the cancer, but it can also help prevent it from coming back and remove any leftover cancer cells from other treatments.   There are four types of cancer vaccines: antigen, whole cell, DNA and dendritic cell.   Antigen helps stimulate the immune system to attack the cancer by using the protein antigen to help.   Whole cell uses a patient's own cancer cells to treat.   DNA vaccines take the DNA from the cancer cells and put them into cells of the immune system to help them identify and eliminate other cancer cells.   Dendritic cells are grown in a lab and used to help strengthen the immune system to get rid of the cancer that is in the system.   There are many clinical trials to learn more about what is going on.

It's only been four months since Tamara began the trial, but a mid-treatment CT scan was promising.

Tamara's parents donated a million dollars to fund this trial, hoping to help her.

They've already lost another daughter to cancer.

The trial will enroll ten patients and only has three now. doctors are looking for patients with any kind of slow-growing metastatic cancer.

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 jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

Brea Beal wins 3rd consecutive Ms. basketball award

While Brea Beal was preparing for the McDonalds all-American game, She received her third straight Ms. basketball award.

Beal becomes the third high school girl to win the prestigious Ms. basketball award. She received 322 votes.

Beal averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds for Rock Island while guiding them to a 30-2 record.

Beal becomes the second female basketball player to win the Ms. basketball award 3 times. The other person was Candace Parker.

Beal’s 322 voting points were more than the next four girls finishers combined.

Ms. Basketball Illinois 2019 voting results

99 ballots cast, first-place votes in parentheses; 5-3-1 vote value.

Top 10

1. Brea Beal, Rock Island, senior, 322 points (51)

2. Anaya Peoples, Danville Schlarman, senior, 170 (13)

3. Angela Dugalic, Maine West, junior, 50 (6)

4. Tenley Dowell, Morton, senior, 42 (4)

5. Rachel Kent, Maine West, senior, 34 (3)

6. Annie Stritzel, Nazareth, senior, 33 (4)

7. Jordan King, Rockton Hononegah, senior, 31 (2)

8. Darrione Rogers, Lake Park, junior, 21 (1)

9. Sammi Matoush, Hillsboro, senior, 14

10 (tie). Halle Douglass, Lake Forest, junior, 11 (2)

10 (tie). Camryn Taylor, Peoria Richwoods, senior, 11

 

Geneseo the only city in Henry County to deny video gaming

GENESEO, Illinois -- The City of Geneseo struck down the second attempt at bringing video gaming to town during last night's city council meeting.

Third ward alderman, Martin Rothschild, said the possibility to bring video gaming machines to Geneseo was briefly mentioned. He said it never officially went up for a vote due to the unanimous lack of interest by board members.

"I think the social, moral, kind of how we brand ourselves as a community, is more important - to those at least in attendance at the meeting - than the ability to gain that revenue," said city administrator, Lisa Kotter.

Right now, Geneseo is the only city in Henry County to turn away video gaming.

"Every city is trying to figure out where do we get extra income. How do we bring it in," Rothschild said. "And video gaming -- when it first came out -- looked awfully attractive... If they were to revisit it now, I'm not so sure they would do it (again)."

Those against video gaming in Geneseo believe it would promote gambling addictions or make the town look tacky.

"A lot of the people who live in this town said that they feel that video gaming would bring down the flavor of our town," Rothschild said.

Still, the owner of Leamen's Bar and Grill, Chris Leamen, said the lack of machines is hitting hard on his business.

"Eerie, Hillsdale, Atkinson, Cambridge, Colona -- they all have the video gaming," Leamen said. "It hurts. I mean my revenue is down on my Friday's and Saturday's. The people out there they prefer to go out there... they're not spending their money here in Geneseo."

Kotter said by now allowing video gaming in Geneseo, the city is missing out on thousands of dollars worth of annual revenue.

"If we look at similar sized communities you could be looking at something between $100-175K in income," Kotter said.

A referendum to bring video gaming was also brought up back in 2015. Now, the city said it will find other ways to find revenue.

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