The latest local news

District in mourning after principal of Burlington elementary school dies in car crash

WQAD News -

BURLINGTON, Iowa — The principal of a Burlington elementary school has passed away due to a car crash, according to a statement from the school district.

In a post on Facebook, a spokesperson from the Burlington Community School District said that the principal of Black Hawk Elementary School, Christopher Richards, died on Thursday, December 12, in a car wreck.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues at this time along with the many children whose lives he has touched,” read the post.

More than a principal, the district said Richards was an “exemplary husband, father, administrator, and friend.”

 

Illinois family devastated after burglar steals baby’s ashes from home

WQAD News -

ELMHURST, Ill. (WGN) — An Illinois family is devastated after a burglar stole their baby’s ashes while ransacking their home.

Sue LaDeur said someone burglarized her home Tuesday, smashing a window to get in. She said they stole a few items, including coins, but the worst part was that they stole a little white box containing her son’s ashes.

Her son, Billy Pax was a twin born with his brother, Matt. LaDeur gave birth nine weeks early – Matt was healthy, but Billy had health issues, and his parents knew from the start that he was very sick. Billy died after just 10 days.

LaDeur kept the small box of ashes on her dresser along with a small cast of his hand and foot — all that his parents had left to cherish.

“The ashes are in a little white box, it’s like 3 inches by 3 inches, about an inch high, so maybe they thought it was a jewelry box and they just took it,” LaDeur said.

Now Billy’s mother, and his father Jim, are pleading with the thief, or thieves, to have a heart and to return the ashes.

“It’s of no value to anybody but it’s invaluable to us," she said. "Please do the right thing."

“It’s all we have left of our child, let us have that back,” Billy’s father said.

Billy died five years ago. The LaDeurs were planning to bury his ashes with them when they died. The couple said it's also important they get them back because their Catholicism calls for the ashes to be buried in consecrated ground.

They said the box has the name of the crematorium on it.

The parents said the person who has the ashes can return them to the crematorium or put them in the mail.

Elmhurst police are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to come forward.

All Major League Baseball teams will extend safety netting again, commissioner says

WQAD News -

(CNN) — All 30 Major League Baseball teams will extend safety netting to protect fans from foul balls, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday in San Diego.

“I hope it goes without saying that the safety of our fans in the ballpark are of paramount concern both to Major League Baseball and to the individual clubs,” said Manfred.

The changes will be made for the 2020 season, he said. Before the 2018 season, MLB extended the netting to at least the far end of the dugout.

Now, seven clubs will have netting that goes all the way to the foul pole, he said. At 15 stadiums, the netting will go to the elbow in the outfield “where the stands begin to angle away from the field of play,” Manfred said.

The remaining eight will extend “substantially beyond the far end of the dugout,” he said.

MLB has struggled with the issue of ballpark safety in recent years as fan injuries seemed to increase. A young fan was hospitalized in 2017 after being hit by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium in New York. In August 2018, a woman was fatally struck by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium in California.

According to one report, about 1,750 spectators are hurt each year by foul balls at MLB games — “a more common occurrence than a batter being hit by a pitch.”

These are 2019’s most popular baby names around the Quad Cities

WQAD News -

For two years in a row, Jackson is one of the most popular names for baby boys in the Quad Cities.

Jackson ranked No. 1 with Genesis in 2018 and hung onto that title at Trinity Moline’s BirthPlace for 2019.  Some other names popped back up into the top ranks from 2017.

These lists are from UnityPoint Health locations around the area:

   Trinity Moline BirthPlace Trinity Bettendorf BirthPlace  Trinity Muscatine BirthPlace Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Hazel Jackson Avery Oliver Everly Noah Everly Josiah Eliana Lincoln Evelyn Rowan Natalie Wyatt Mila Owen Madison Carter Riley Ezra Marley Joseph Layla Greyson Sophia William

 

Watch: Judiciary Committee clashes over impeachment ahead of vote to send articles to the floor

WQAD News -

(CNN) — The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday is taking a major step forward to impeaching President Donald Trump as it works to approve the articles of impeachment and send them to the House floor for a full chamber vote expected next week.

The messy legislative sausage-making prompted a debate over the President’s conduct and the impeachment proceedings themselves, as Republicans sought to poke holes and do away altogether with the impeachment articles against the President.

LIVE UPDATES: The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

Lawmakers sparred at length over an amendment to remove the entire first article, charging Trump with abuse of power, from the impeachment resolution, and scores more amendments from Republicans were expected Thursday in a debate that could last late into the day.

The committee process for debating and approving the articles is used for hundreds of pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill each year, but Thursday’s debate is as contentious as ever with a vote by the full House to remove the President from office potentially less than a week away.

The committee process for debating and approving the articles is used for hundreds of pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill each year, but Thursday’s debate is likely to be as contentious as ever with a vote by the full House to remove the President from office potentially less than a week away.

The committee debate follows the Democratic introduction of two articles of impeachment against the President, charging him with abuse of power for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while withholding US security aid and a White House meeting, and obstruction of Congress for refusing to cooperate in any manner with the impeachment inquiry into his conduct.

Thursday’s committee vote to approve the articles sets the stage for a vote on the House floor that is likely to make Trump the third president in US history to be impeached. Democratic leadership sources say they could lose more than at least two moderate Democrats on the impeachment votes, but there’s no concern about major defections that could endanger the articles.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is not lobbying moderates on the fence to vote for impeachment.

“People have to come to their own conclusions,” Pelosi said.

The speaker said the facts are clear, and she isn’t concerned about losing more Democrats on the articles of impeachment than the two who voted against the resolution establishing procedures for the inquiry. “People will vote the way they vote,” she said.

While the White House did not participate in the House impeachment proceedings, Trump weighed in on the debate Thursday, tweeting that two Democrats were misconstruing his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the US President he asked for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

“Dems Veronica Escobar and Jackson Lee purposely misquoted my call,” Trump said. “I said I want you to do us (our Country!) a favor, not me a favor. They know that but decided to LIE in order to make a fraudulent point! Very sad.”

House Republican leaders are lobbying their members on the House floor to oppose impeachment, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said in an email to House Republicans, as Republicans work to keep the number of GOP defections on impeachment at zero.

A free-wheeling committee debate

Thursday’s debate was free-wheeling, as any committee member can offer an amendment to the impeachment articles and every lawmaker can speak up to debate it.

The first Republican amendment, introduced by GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, simply removed the first impeachment article from the resolution.

“Article one in this resolution ignores the truth, ignores the facts, it ignores what happened and what has been laid out for the American people over the last three weeks,” Jordan said.

Democrats responded that Republicans were ignoring the President’s misconduct, continuing the partisan debate over impeachment that began on Wednesday night when every lawmaker on the 41-member committee delivered an opening statement.

“The President committed the highest crime against the Constitution by abusing his office,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat. “Cheating in an election, inviting foreign interference for a purely personal gain while jeopardizing our national security and the integrity of our elections.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida shot back that the impeachment resolution didn’t include any crimes. “They have to say abuse of power because they have no evidence for bribery or treason,” he said.

The impeachment debate even veered back two decades, as two lawmakers who were on the Judiciary Committee when President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 debated the merits of that case compared to the current impeachment proceedings.

“I would just like to note that the argument that somehow, lying about a sexual affair is an abuse of presidential power, but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit somehow doesn’t matter — if it’s lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels’ case ahead of us,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who was also a congressional staffer during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon. “We don’t believe that’s a high crime and misdemeanor.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who was an impeachment manager in 1998, argued there was a clear crime in the Clinton impeachment.

“The important thing is, is that Bill Clinton lied to a grand jury. That is a crime,” Sensenbrenner said. “The article of impeachment that passed the House accused Bill Clinton of lying to a grand jury, a crime, and something that obstructs the ability of the courts to get to the truth. This is not what is happening here. Big difference.”

Republicans have no ability to change the text of the articles or stop them without Democratic votes. But for each amendment, every member has the opportunity to speak for five minutes — meaning Republicans can extend the committee meeting as long as they want to keep talking.

Republicans also detailed their process complaints about the impeachment proceedings. Rep. Doug Collins demanded House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler agree to hold a Republican hearing day before moving forward, but his objection was defeated along party lines.

“This committee has become nothing but a rubber stamp,” Collins said. “This committee is amazingly now on such a clock and calendar process that they don’t care — facts be damned.”

Rep. Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat, responded that Republicans did get witnesses — and that the President’s legal team chose not to participate.

“It’s worth pointing out to my colleagues on the other side that we invited the President of the United States to the December 4 hearing to advocate for his views, to submit requested witnesses, but he chose not to attend, and he chose not to suggest any witnesses,” Deutch said.

Committee vote sets up House to impeach Trump next week

House Democratic leaders have not said yet when the impeachment articles will go to the floor, but a vote is expected next week, along with votes to fund the government and hand the President a significant win by approving the new US trade deal.

When the impeachment resolution comes to the floor, the House will take separate votes on each article of impeachment. Two Democratic leadership sources say it’s possible they could lose more than two Democrats — the number who voted against the procedural vote on the impeachment inquiry in October — when the floor vote takes place.

Those two Democrats, Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Colin Peterson of Minnesota, have already said they will vote against the impeachment articles. At the same time, Democrats are likely to pick up independent Justin Amash of Michigan.

But the sources acknowledge they could lose a handful more from swing districts on either or both articles. Many vulnerable members are not saying what they’ll do yet, as they had back to their districts this weekend and get feedback from voters.

Democrats are not expecting mass defections and they expect to have more than enough votes for final passage.

Two other Democratic leadership sources say they are not planning to whip their members on the floor vote on the articles, meaning they won’t twist arms to keep Democrats in line. That is intended to back up what Pelosi has been saying throughout the impeachment proceedings: The vote will be a “vote of conscience.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

12 Days of Christmas: Lagomarcino’s

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois -- This holiday season WQAD News 8 and participating sponsors are bringing viewers the 12 Days of Christmas.  Find gift ideas for your loved ones and register to win a prize from each day’s sponsor!

We started the contest Monday, December 2nd, and each weekday on News 8 at 11 a.m., WQAD News 8 is featuring a business with gift ideas for the holidays.

Starting at noon each day, enter to  win a prize or prizes from that day’s featured business. You will have 24 hours to register to win that day’s featured prize(s).

Remember…  it is a new contest every day!  You must register each day for that day’s prize.  Contest period starts at noon and runs until 11:59 a.m. the following day.

Thursday, December 12, we featured Lagomarcino's, and the owner Tom Lagomarcino.  You have until 11:59 a.m. on Friday, December 13th to register to win a $150 gourmet basket.

COMING SOON: McAlister’s Deli Coming to Moline Next

WQAD News -

What’s going in here? What’s happening over there? These are questions we all ask as we drive around town and Good Morning Quad Cities’ Coming Soon Segment is about answering those questions.

We have a quick update for you!

Back in August, we told you that McAlister’s Deli was coming to Davenport and Galesburg. Now, the popular sweet tea and sandwich hot spot is expanding to Moline.

McAlister’s Deli created a Moline Facebook page in November 2019, announcing the news of a December 2019 opening. Then, on December 7th, it posted that its NOW HIRING:

It reads: “Join us and get food all over your resume! Starting rates $10 per hour. Apply in store starting on Monday, December 9. See us at 3929 41st Avenue Dr., Moline, IL 61265. Or call 309-524-5100.”

There is no word on an official opening date yet and the Moline location is not yet posted on McAlister’s website, but we will keep you – and your taste buds – posted!

Do you have a development you want us to look into? Send an email to news@wqad.com with “Coming Soon” in the subject line.  

Lucky Charms cereal isn’t just for breakfast anymore…

WQAD News -

Pillsbury has released a Lucky Charms cereal-flavored cookie dough.

The dough package includes 12 cookies ready to place and bake.  The dough contains five of the favorite marshmallow shapes: hearts, horseshoes, clovers, rainbows, and blue moons.

Lucky Charms fans can buy the dough at Walmart and Kroger stores, but will roll out in stores across the country in January 2020.

Ready for snow? Monday could be a doozy!

WQAD News -

Aside from a few hours in the late-night hours of the day, our team of four meteorologists is working non-stop on the accurate forecast. It's especially important this year as yesterday's wintry roads led to a fatal accident on Interstate 280. The previous wintry system on November 11th also caused a fatal accident on I-280.

When you think about it, we are in more jeopardy driving in wintry weather than during most severe weather alert days.

We're still tracking the possibility of a full-fledged winter storm for Monday, but the details remain a bit fuzzy at this point.

We don't know the exact track at this point, but we do have consistency in the models from day to day and that gives us a little more confidence.

Keeping an eye on the storm system that could bring the Quad Cities some potential snowfall on Monday. These are two of our models looking at the same time and giving very different outcomes! pic.twitter.com/RM8L1ab04P

— Morgan Strackbein (@MorganStrackWX) December 12, 2019

As Meteorologist Morgan Strackbein points out, there is still a model-outlier. Until both of these come together, it's not a sure-bet.

What is? The timing is pretty much locked in: beginning Sunday night, lasting through the afternoon on Monday we will at least get some snow. Whether this is a doozy or a dud remains to be seen. We'll continue to track it accurately over the next few days.

Next week will be much colder, but a lot depends on snow cover by that time.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

 

I-74 crews make progress on the bridge arches

WQAD News -

MOLINE, ILLINOIS  --  Delayed construction on the new I-74 bridge could mean a new detour for drivers coming into Illinois.
The project manager, George Ryan, says the change will keep the bridge on time and on budget. Ryan also says crews are making progress on the arches.

"We are making great progress on the arch," Ryan said. "The arch is a very difficult build, very complicated build, and it takes a lot of time and effort to make sure it's right."

But the difficulty isn't stopping crews. They've laid down the first strut. The strut connects the sides of the arch.

"We've set some pieces," Ryan said. "We're just finishing setting on of the struts that goes between the arches on the Iowa side, and then they will run over and set the strutt on the Illinois side."

Ryan says setting the struts means the arch alignment is good.

"The rumors that they were off substaintly were never true," Ryan said. "Part of the reason that it takes so long to construct the arch is because we are surveying each section of that arch and the contractor is steering it, to make sure we're where we need to be."

The arch is set to be closed in Spring 2020. Then, crews will begin construction on the next arch.

"We wont be able to start on the eastbound arch until we finish the westbound arch," Ryan said.

The Iowa bound bridge was expected to be done by the end of this year, but Ryan says it is now set to be done in 2020.

Hope Creek care center staff worried as county board works to sell nursing home within the next month

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois - People who work at Hope Creek Care Center are nervous as the Rock Island County Board works to sell the nursing home. The sale will help pay the more than $20 Million worth of debt the nursing home is costing taxpayers.

"What will happen if the facility sells? Will I have a job," asked Cheryl Campbell.

Campbell has worked for the county-owned nursing home for 15 years and says the county board needs to focus more on the current staff while negotiating the sale of the nursing home.

"I think they need to guarantee us a job here somehow within the sell of the facility," said Campbell.

Her co-workers, married couple Hedi and Brian Fuhr, agree.

"That`s our income, that`s our pension, that`s our retirement, that`s our insurance," said Hedi.

"I think when it comes down to it, this is gonna be one of those things that you don`t realize what you`ve got until its gone," said Brian.

On December 11, the county board met behind closed doors to discuss four offers currently on the table.

County Board Chairman Richard Brunk says selling the nursing home would be the best option for staff and he says he doesn't believe they should worry about losing their jobs, citing a nationwide nursing home staff shortage.

"The reason that I don`t feel that its likely that there would be any type of mass layoffs or terminations is simply because everyone is struggling to maintain their staff," said Brunk.

He says the county is currently operating the nursing home "in crisis mode," and he says the ability to continue operating the nursing home is a "concern" of his.

One of the counties priorities is to sell Hope Creek as an operating nursing home to a buyer that will keep Hope Creek Care Center open, maintaining it's license.

Brunk says because of an over saturation of nursing home beds in our region, if Hope Creek's license goes away, it could be hard to get back.

"If the license goes away, anyone purchasing that facility would have to re-purpose it and there`s obviously a cost to that, which would minimize any value to the property," said Brunk.

Now, with four offers on the table, Brunk said the goal is to finalize a sale within the next month.

"I think once this is done, once this takes place, there’s going to be a sense of relief." said Brunk. "People will realize that those jobs are still there, people will realize that they will still have the opportunity to organize (as a union), people will realize they’ll still have their home, people will realize mom, dad, grandma, grandpa are still in their home."

Still, staff remains hesitant.

"What about us? These are people! These are our lives," said Hedi Fuhr.

Brunk said the sale of the care center will also help return about $5 million dollars to taxpayers.

He believes homeowners would see a property tax decrease after the sale of the nursing home.

Alarming video of voice from girl’s bedroom security cam: ‘Don’t you want to be my best friend?’

WQAD News -

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. – An 8-year-old Mississippi girl first heard strange music and other odd noises in her bedroom – then she heard a voice.

Ashley LeMay told WMC that the chilling sounds were coming from a hacked Ring camera mounted in her daughter's bedroom. LeMay said she bought the camera as a Black Friday deal so she could check in on her three girls during her late shifts as a nurse.

LeMay said the camera was mounted for four days when something caught her daughter Alyssa's attention.

“First, what happened I was in the hallway I thought it was my sister because I hear music," she told WMC. Playing in her bedroom was the high falsetto voice of Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through The Tulips." "So I come upstairs and I hear some banging noise and I am like, ‘Who is that?’”

In the recording, a man's voice answers back, "I'm your best friend!"

At that point Alyssa yells, "Mommy!" to which the voice replies, "I'm Santa Claus, don't you want to be my best friend?"

WMC reports that the stranger encouraged "destructive behavior" before her father, who was home at the time, found out what was going on. The Ring camera is now disconnected and the couple plan to return it.

"They could watch them sleeping, changing, they could have watched a lot of things," LeMay said.

Ring told the local TV news station that an investigation determined the incident wasn't caused by a security breach on their end, and could have been the result of hackers stealing the same user and password reused on another site.

The company said that it values customer trust and highly encourages users to be as safe as possible by enabling two-factor authentication on their accounts, adding shared users (instead of sharing login info), using strong passwords and regularly changing their passwords.

See Ring security suggestions here: https://support.ring.com/.

New traffic pattern is planned for Illinois bound I-74

WQAD News -

QUAD CITIES- New detours are coming for drivers getting across the Interstate-74 Bridge. For one potential detour, the IDOT wants to shift Illinois-bound traffic onto local roads but they want to hear from you first.

Project leaders held a Q&A on Wednesday, December 11.

The plan is basically the opposite of what's happening in Moline right now where Iowa bound drivers are diverted into the downtown.

With this new change drivers would take the avenue of the cities on-ramp to continue East then they would to the exit on 7th avenue and take 19th street.
crews say this detour would help keep construction on time and minimize costs.

Project managers say it will take about a month to decide if this spring 2020 detour is going to happen.

YOUR HEALTH: Treating port-wine birthmarks at a much earlier age

WQAD News -

NEW YORK CITY – For people with port-wine stain birthmarks, laser surgery is one way to soften the appearance.

Treatment can be uncomfortable, and in the past some doctors recommended waiting until a child was a few years old and could better tolerate anesthesia.

But that's changing.

It's hard to see the red birthmark 19-month old Riley Shehigian is was born with covering the left side of her face.

"They said 'Oh, it's just bruising from labor and birth', but it didn't go away," her month, Chandra Shehigian, remembered.

Dermatologists diagnosed the port-wine stain birthmark when Riley was five days old.

Five days later, doctors began treatment.

"For her sake we wanted to treat her, and we wanted to treat her young," said her father, Grant.

"Hopefully she won't remember what she went through."

Using a device called the V-Beam Laser, doctors delivered quick pulses to the red area of Riley's face.

"The laser, it goes through the skin, heats up the blood," explained Dr. Leonard Bernstein, a dermatologist with the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York.

"That heat expands and destroys the lining of the vessel, hopefully destroying the vessel wall."

The laser, seen here during an adult treatment, allows doctors to treat a section about the size of a dime and then repeat until they've lasered the entire birthmark.

"The treatment of an infant is safe," said Dr. Bernsten, "but it does have the feel of a rubber band snapping on the surface of the skin."

There has been debate about what age to treat affected children.  Many doctors will wait until the patient is three or four years old.   

Riley's port-wine stain birthmark was greatly reduced by the V Beam laser treatment she started receiving shortly after birth.

Dr. Leonard Bernstein says he treats infants at less than one year of age while the skin is relatively thin.

"The spot size of the area of involvement is relatively small as the child is small," he said.

"Treatments are faster than treating a three-year-old.   Treatment early is much more effective because we can treat a small area in a faster treatment session."

Dr. Bernstein said the updated laser device makes treatment easier on patients since its faster with no need for anesthesia.

"The fact that someone can't recognize it, that's the goal. That's the hope," said her father.

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.

FDA investigates after possible traces of cancer causing chemicals are found in medication

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating Metformin for possible traces of carcinogens.
Metformin is often prescribed to diabetes patients but can also be diagnosed for other issues.

The FDA announced its testing the drug for cancer-causing chemicals.
Singapore and some European countries have already issued recalls.

U.S. healthcare professionals are urging people to keep using it until told otherwise as Metformin made in the U.S. does not appear to contain the harmful chemicals.

Crimestoppers search for Amber Portugue; wanted on meth charges

WQAD News -

Each Wednesday on News 8 CrimeStoppers of the Quad Cities introduces the community to one of the area's most wanted criminals.

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, the "Wheel of Misfortune" landed on 28-year-old Amber Portugue. She's 5' 6", 120 pounds, brown hair, green eyes. She is wanted in Rock Island County for two counts of probation violation on original charges of possession of meth

She is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers. Tips leading to an arrest could be eligible for a $500 reward.

Former firefighter takes first steps with exoskeleton in front of family, Davenport fire department after spinal cord injury

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A former Davenport Firefighter took his first steps in public with the help of an exoskeleton, after suffering a spinal cord injury, for the first time in more than ten years.

Robert Juarez fell off a ladder while fighting a fire in 2008. But, his injury hasn't stopped him from staying positive and creating change.

"His positivity is infectious," his wife Nancy Juarez says. "That's never changed."

Juarez says staying positive is what keeps him healthy. He adds that staying healthy and in shape is what qualified him to use the exoskeleton to walk for the first time.

"No matter what, you can overcome those problems and issues and hopefully stay positive and live a healthy life," Juarez says.

Since 2008, he helped start Quad City Adaptive Sports, to encourage others stay active.

"Socializing with others, you learn about others with the same problems, and help each other in that way," he says.

He's also an ambassador for Genesis Health System, advocating for people with disabilities. He wants to raise money for Genesis to buy a second exoskeleton for outpatient rehab.

For Juarez, using the exoskeleton is more than just getting back on his feet.

"Seeing eye-to-eye with somebody and having a conversation with them is a great feeling," he says.

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