The latest local news

Ben Butterworth closed, Sylvan Island reopened

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois- Moline has announced one opening and one closing as flood waters recede.

The city says, starting Friday, May 17,  Ben Butterworth Parkway (22nd – 55th Street, along River Drive) is closed to all pedestrian and bicycle traffic including the bike path, playground, shelters, restrooms, and off-trail areas until cleaning and repairs can be completed.

“This is for your safety, the safety of our staff and to allow work to be concluded as efficiently as possible. Thank you for your patience.”

The city does not yet have a date for when it will be reopened.

The city also says as of Thursday, May 16, Sylvan Island (2nd Street and 1st Avenue) has reopened for public use.

58-year-old rookie on Memphis Police force finally fulfilling his dream

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ever since he was a kid, Don Brown knew he wanted to be a police officer.

He had always worked out, and knew he could do the physical part of being an officer, the academic work, and he knew how to shoot.

After talking with someone at the police academy, he discovered the Memphis Police Department would take him, as long as he could pass the tests — even at the age of 58.

That's right. When most people are starting to think about retirement, Brown is starting a new career, hitting the streets of Memphis as an officer.

"That feeling never went away," Brown said. "I always wanted to serve this community.”

It’s a story that started eight months ago at the Memphis Police Academy, the first time the rookies were introduced to Brown.

"You don’t really see that many people that are older like that, that already had a career to come and want to be a police officer, so it was pretty cool,” fellow officer Trevoris Bogan told WREG.

For years, Brown put his dream on hold while life got in the way.

"You know, I went to college, got married and started having kids, it’s like, not a good time." So he put it off and took care of his family. He spent 30 years in the food business and retired two years ago.

There were 85 cadets in Brown’s class. He was by far the oldest, but he still finished near the top of his class.

"It does push you," Brown said. "You don't understand sometimes why you're having to do these push-ups or the flutter kicks or whatever, but there’s a reason to everything.”

Brown is the oldest “rookie” in recent memory, and some believe he might be the department’s oldest “rookie” ever. "They would call me Uncle Brown, which I take as an endearing term, and it was, it was a great experience,” he said.

His family thought he was crazy.

“She worries of course and the kids do, but they're glad I'm doing what I want to do,” he said.

But when the laughter faded, reality set in. A badge, a gun, is an enormous responsibility that occasionally comes at a tremendous cost. "You know, if something were to happen tomorrow, today, whatever, I'm doing what I told them, I told my family: 'I'm doing what I want to do.' And so, I'm happy with it. I'm good with it."

His superior officers are good with it too, saying his age is not a disadvantage. "I was actually excited to have someone that age," MPD Lt. Jay Dorning said.

Older officers like Brown don't require as much training because they've been trained their whole lives, he said.
"He has the personal skills because, in the days that we grew up, you actually had to communicate with people face-to-face, whether you talked to him on the phone, you didn't have texting. So it makes him relate with the people in the city,” Dorning said.

Brown said the best part of the job is being out in the community, making a difference every day.

"I love the city of Memphis," he said. "I'm telling you one thing I found out since doing this job, the people are really great. You know we see a lot of bad things on TV, and I'm telling you, the majority of the people that I run into are very supportive. It's just been very rewarding for me."

He only has one wish, "I wish I had another life to give another 25 years. And maybe if I stay here another 25 years, I’ll be 83. I don't know. We'll see how it goes.”

Oklahoma man finds 7 foot snake slithering into dryer vent

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YUKON, Okla. - An Oklahoma man was forced to act quickly when he realized he had a slithering surprise waiting for him in his dryer vent.

“There was a huge snake. It went from the gate, all the way through the AC unit and we saw it up in the dryer vent, going inside,” said Wayne Melvin, who found a snake at his home.

A nearly 7-foot snake was making its way through a dryer hole, which leads straight to his house.

“We pulled the dryer out. We took it apart to see if we could find this thing. We didn’t want it in the house,” Melvin said.

Thankfully the snake didn't make it that far. Realizing there was no place to go, the reptile tried to slither its way back out.

"The only thing that was sticking out the next time was the head. And I'm not gonna try to grab that,” Melvin said.

Rather than calling a pest control company, Melvin decided to see if the snake would come out on its own.

“We gave it a little bit of time to come out naturally instead of hurting or killing it,” Melvin said.

He said with a home that backs up to a creek, he’s seen snakes nearby before. But had never dealt with anything like this before.

“It scared me,” Melvin said. “It was definitely a different location. Normally you find them hidden in very obvious locations. Not your dryer vent.”

After the vent was snake-free, Melvin threw some gloves on and carried the snake to the creek behind his house, letting it go back where it belonged.

“They eat rats and rodents. So that’s a lot better than other things that come from those woods,” Melvin said.

Air Force employee facing child porn charges downloaded manual on how to seduce, groom children for sex

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ISLE OF WIGHT Co., Va. - Gregory Wacks, the Air Force employee charged with multiple counts of having and distributing child porn, was denied bond Thursday, WTKR reports. 

Prosecutors argued he is a threat to the children in this community.

Investigators who forensically searched Wacks’ phone testified they not only found thousands of images of child porn involving very young children, but they also found a 170+ page PDF filed labeled “How to Practice Child Love.” The Commonwealth’s Attorney described the book to the court as a manual for seducing and grooming children into sexual acts, starting at a very young age.

The document was pulled from a known child porn trade site and had been downloaded to Wacks' phone, according to investigators.

Wacks, an Air Force veteran currently employed as a civilian by the Air Force, was charged in April with one count of distributing child porn; one count of possession of child porn first offense and 18 counts of possession of child porn, later offenses.

Investigators who forensically searched Wacks' phone said the investigation is not over and they are still combing through the evidence they had from their initial phone "dump."

After a search warrant was executed and Wacks' home was searched, investigators seized the cell phone, computer and tablet, but also mentioned finding a hidden camera in Wacks' home that he shares with his wife and young daughter. Investigators did not go into whether or not they have searched that device and have not mentioned for what purpose it was used.

This giant steak feeds 12 people

WQAD News -

At MB Steak inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this dry-aged, seven-boned tomahawk serves 12. Unlike your average steakhouse steak order, however, sides are included, making the hefty price tag for the 16-pound ribeye at least marginally more digestible.

Love it or hate it, share-plate dining is far from over. But dwindling are the days when tapas and small plates monopolized the category and each diner was encouraged to order five to six items.

Making waves today is large-format dining. From whole fish to whole roasted duck to steak for two or more, the new way of sharing food may have reached its pinnacle with a $1,200 tomahawk available in — where else — Las Vegas.

At MB Steak inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this dry-aged, seven-boned tomahawk serves 12. Unlike your average steakhouse steak order, however, sides are included, making the hefty price tag for the 16-pound ribeye at least marginally more digestible.

Along with the massive cut of beef, tables are served an assortment of six decadent side dishes including lobster mac and cheese, creamed corn with king crab and roasted poblano, maitake mushrooms with aged goat cheese and creamed spinach with a poached egg and truffle gouda.

The $1200 large-format steak dish served at MB Steak in Las Vegas serves 12.

Chef Patrick Munster says one to two “Feasts” are ordered each week — and the extra-large cuts must be pre-ordered as the restaurant requires advance notice to obtain the USDA Prime meat sourced from Nebraska. As is widely publicized the tomahawk can be enjoyed by up to 12 people, but Munster says he once served it to a table of eight, and the group finished it all.

MB Steak is owned by brothers David Morton and Michael Morton, part of Morton Group. The restaurant bills itself a “luxury steakhouse” though by many people’s definition, steakhouses are already luxurious by default. A 22-ounce bone-in ribeye at Bavette’s in Chicago, for example, will cost you $69.95; in Las Vegas, the price of the exact same steak curiously isn’t listed on the website and costs significantly more at $91.

At The Grill, an upscale chophouse in Manhattan, the 14-ounce, dry-aged porterhouse is $74 — in short, a lot more than your now relatively average $25-30 entree.

The substantial price differential, and the noteworthy price tag on the tomahawk may explain why many chophouses (Brooklyn’s celebrated Peter Luger restaurant is among these) omit prices on their online menus — though a spokesperson for MB tells CNN Travel that it’s fairly common not to include prices as they tend to fluctuate.

MB Steak’s menu includes a few items from the sea: fennel crusted salmon, sea scallops and shrimp risotto are available on any given night, but who goes to a steakhouse and orders fish?

If you haven’t had enough luck at the blackjack table to justify the tomahawk (or if you just can’t fathom paying that much for a food item, no matter how delicious or deep your pockets), MB also has a number of “signature steaks” from which to choose.

Order one of those and you may even have room for dessert.

Chef Patrick Munster presents the meat to the table before carving tableside.

Tennessee woman says police aren’t doing enough to protect her daughters from sex trafficking

WQAD News -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "MPD has taken these guys into custody. They have caught them with my daughters. They are 13, 14 and 15."

A Memphis mother is trying to protect her teenage daughters after she says they've become trapped in the cycle of sex trafficking.

The mother asked not to be identified; she said her daughters have been pulled toward a downward spiral.

"They're luring them by buying them clothes, shoes, giving them money."

She said each time her girls disappear she calls police, and she has documents to prove it. She said she's told investigators numerous times about her suspicions that her daughters are being sex trafficked.

"I feel let down by the system."

Often times the desperate mother has resorted to taking things into her own hands, confronting the suspects on her own.

So far, the only man arrested is Jarvis Johnson, charged with harboring a runaway child.

"I'm hurt. I'm disappointed, and I know something can be done."

The mother believes her house was shot up after Johnson's arrest out of retaliation. Now she lives in hiding.

Throughout all of this, she said her daughter's grades have slipped, and the school district is calling them truant.

Debra Farrow, founder of Wings of Love, has been helping the family find a way out.

"When she sought out help, they started to tell her to keep a tab on [her] kids. Then she lost her job, but she was following directions," Farrow said. "It's more than just sex. They are just brainwashed."

The mother said she recently got a call from a friend telling her the girls were at a strip mall with a group of guys. They were being sold to the highest bidder in exchange for sexual favors.

"It's not just my children. It's a lot of children in Memphis that are dealing with this."

She said her daughters haven't disappeared in about three weeks, so she hopes she's close to breaking the cycle.

Brief warming Saturday will lay out more scattered storms for the area this weekend

WQAD News -

Scattered showers and a few embedded thunderstorms will will continue throughout the afternoon and early evening as a stationary boundary remains poised right over the area.  Fortunately, we’ll briefly dry out overnight as temperatures drop into the 50s.

As the boundary drifts a bit more north on Saturday, temperatures will vastly improve with the mercury averaging around the 80 degree mark.  Unfortunately, showers and a few thunderstorms return with the coverage in the morning being isolated before increasing in coverage during the rest of the day and night.  Showers and storms will slowly end from west to east later Sunday with highs just over 70 degrees.

If cutting the lawn is a priority on your list then I strongly suggest you circle down Monday on your calender.  That will be the next dry day before more showers and strong thunderstorms return in the forecast.

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

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Wallace’s Helps Us Grow Herb Gardens for Fresh Cocktails

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The benefits of gardening your own herbs can pay off when the clock hits 5:00pm.

On Friday, May 17th, we took NAILED IT OR FAILED IT on the road to Wallace's Garden Center in Bettendorf. Store Manager and "Garden Girl" Kate Terrell showed us how to plant an herb garden that can freshen up your recipes, cocktails, or just the smell of your outdoor living space. Click the video clip above to hear her expert advice for growing herbs and the special tools you can use to grow your green thumb.

Since we're learning how to grow herbs, we thought we'd incorporate one of those herbs into our Cocktail of the Week. This week, we're making a Watermelon Mint Spritzer. All you need is some watermelon, Prosecco, and - of course - mint from your garden! Here's how we made it:

This isn't the first time we've taken Nailed It Or Failed It on the road to Wallace's. Click here to see how to make your own terrarium!

Backstreet Boys release new 20th anniversary edition of ‘I Want It That Way’

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Even if you spent all your high school years listening to “I Want It That Way” on a loop, it’s safe to say you’ve never heard the song quite like this.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of “Millennium,” which was released in May 1999, the Backstreet Boys have unveiled an acoustic version of their hit single from that album.

“Each and every one of you have been the perfect fan and have made us feel larger than life,” the band said in a song pun-filled letter to fans posted along with the newly recorded song. “Believe us when we say, no one else comes close to having as amazing fans as we do…We would never be able to say enough ‘thank yous’ but wanted to share a little something to show how grateful we are.”

Earlier this year, the band celebrated its 26th year together.

The Backstreet Boys’ world tour in support of their new album, DNA, kicked off last week in Portugal.

Indiana man who buried former employee in concrete grave gets 24-year sentence

WQAD News -

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A  judge sentenced Jason Hancock to 24 years in prison for killing a former employee and burying him in a concrete grave.

Detectives said Hancock confessed to shooting 41-year-old Michael Marks, a former employee. He went into detail about he tried to cover up the crime, even knocking out all of Marks’ teeth and saying he wanted to make a necklace out of them.

According to court documents, Hancock killed Marks because he took his things from a warehouse while he was in jail for a drug charge.

Hancock met with Marks with his son and another man. Documents said Hancock asked Marks for restitution for the items he took, but Marks refused.

Hancock told investigators he shot and killed Marks and then tried to find ways to hide the crime. Court records detail how Hancock went to several hardware stores to get materials to dispose of the victim’s body, even buying a product called ZEP and pure lye. When they didn’t work, Hancock and another person went to a Lowe’s and bought 30 bags of concrete.

Authorities believe Hancock then removed Marks’ clothes and used a tool to remove his teeth before placing the body in a hole in the warehouse floor and covering it with the concrete, plywood and pallets.

The affidavit then explains how Hancock stated he was, “Going to make a necklace out of them.”  Hancock and the other person then used “a large pole to poke holes in the body so concrete would enter the body.”

Police said Hancock returned the supplies they didn’t use and got refunds from those stores. Investigators were able to use those to connect Hancock to the crime.

Hancock’s lawyer and the prosecutor reached a plea deal. The original murder charge was dropped, and he was sentenced for voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

The Queen is hiring a social media manager

WQAD News -

For those who know how to curate the perfect Instagram feed and write a killer tweet, a career opportunity has come up in the royal communications team.

On its jobs listings website, the royal household is searching for a Digital Communications Officer to find "new ways to maintain the Queen's presence in the public eye and on the world stage."

The role, which will involve covering state visits, researching and writing feature articles and managing digital platforms, comes with a salary "circa £30,000, ($38,000) dependent on experience."

The successful applicant will also secure "a comprehensive benefits package," 33 days' annual leave and free lunches. The permanent role is located in Buckingham Palace.

The Queen is no stranger to social media -- in March this year, she published her first post on Instagram during a visit to London's Science Museum to the @TheRoyalFamily account.

"Today, as I visit the Science Museum I was interested to discover a letter from the Royal Archives, written in 1843 to my great-great-grandfather Prince Albert," she wrote in the post, using a touch screen iPad at the museum to send the message.

Britain's royal family has millions of followers on its social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The royal household has taken action in recent months to combat abusive comments on social media.

The palace released a set of social media guidelines in March to request "that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities."

The royal household warned that it reserved the right to hide or delete comments that do not comply with the guidelines and would send inappropriate comments to law enforcement authorities.

Kensington Palace has also asked social media firms to help tackle online abuse after abuse targeted the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, Kate and Meghan.

What the Niabi Zoo is doing to help endangered species in their care and how you can help

WQAD News -

COAL VALLEY, Illinois-- On Saturday, May 18 the Niabi Zoo is opening their doors for an Endangered Species day.

For Tammy Schmidt the zoo life is more than just sitting and staring at animals, it's a gentle reminder of the harm happening to wild animals around the world.

The Niabi Zoo hosts multiple animals on the endangered species list, some are considered critically endangered, like Geelin the Amur Leopard.

"Geelin was brought to us for breeding actually so the plan is now that we will be having a female come in hopefully later this fall and we'll be part of a species survivor program," said Jessica Lench-Porter, the carnivore keeper.

Jessica and other zookeepers are doing what they can but some things are out of their control.

"We`re usually the number one predator for most species that have gone endangered but also habitat loss is a big one," said Lench-Porter.

Keeping these animals in sight creates a way to teach visitors the threats to certain species and how visitors can do their part.

For the buff-cheeked gibbon that means palm oil and companies being irresponsible.

"Talking about sustainable ways that we source oil palm and different ways we can start reading our labels at the grocery store and believe it or not oil palm, palm goes by about 30 or 40 other names," said Schmidt.

The zoo is already making the changes they need in order to do their part, trash and clean up is now done using barrels instead of plastic bags.

"It's a long discussion it's going to take awhile and it`s going to take all of us to think about what we're putting on our hair when we wash it and what we are putting in our month when we eat," said Schmidt.

More work will need to be done but it can be rewarding.

"We had red wolf pups here four to five years ago and that was probably the biggest accomplishment of my entire career," said Lench-Porter.

Saving the species they are hosting is important but so is making sure no one else is added to the list.

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