MERCER COUNTY, Illinois -- It's a magical, fleeting moment every spring -- when mushroom hunters set out into forests and creek beds in search of the mysterious morel mushroom.
"It's the one time of year that we look forward to," said mushroom hunter Nathan Steele.
Steele and his friends invited News Eight to an undisclosed location in rural Mercer County to join their annual hunt for morels. The exact locations of the best morel patches are tightly guarded secrets, not only because morels are said to be delicious, but valuable, too.
"I've heard 72 dollars, I've heard up to 100 dollars a pound in some places," said Steele.
But Steele and his friends say they don't do it for the money, but for the thrill of finding the elusive mushrooms.
"A big smile on your face, your eyes are like OH!" said Matt Hess, an autobody technician by trade and avid mushroom hunter in his leisure time. "You get all excited, and you're like, oh there's one!" he said.
Hess and Steele have been mushroom hunting together for the last several years. They said when you start getting good at it, you don't just stare at the forest floor, you start looking up into the treetops for dead trees. Morels are known to grow around dead elm trees in particular, along creek beds and valleys.
But sometimes, there doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to where they pop up from year to year.
"I mean that's what makes it fun," said Steele. "You never know where you're going to find your next one," he said.
Steele and two of his friends picked between 45 and 50 morels in just under an hour one afternoon in mid-May, weighing in at three pounds. The warming weather means this year's hunt is nearly over, so it could be one of the season's last.
"Picking and grinning," said Hess. "That's what we call it," he said with a smile.
DIXON, Illinois - Seniors were getting ready for their graduation practice at Dixon High School On May 16, 2018 when they heard shots being fired.
Dixon Police say a student walked into the school with a loaded gun. That's when school resource officer Mark Dallas confronted 19-year-old Matthew Milby.
Milby and Officer Dallas exchanged gunfire. Milby was shot in the shoulder and arrested. Nobody else was hurt.
One year later, Dixon high school has upped security.
More than 120 new cameras line the hallways, and instead of being able to access 33 of the school's entrances, people are limited to just two entrances.
But it's the familiar face in the hallway that helps students feel secure.
"I have about 20 months until I retire and I'm hoping I get to stay my entire time here," said Officer Mark Dallas during an interview on the anniversary of the shooting.
The officer reports for duty daily.
In the hallway where the shooting happened, bullet holes are patched up but still visible.
"When I walk down towards the gym area, I think about how serious it was one year ago today."
This year, graduation practice would have been on the exact same day. Seven snow days pushed the rehearsal back.
"They don't need to think about what happened last year and we try to keep that out of the kids minds anyhow, so I am glad it is not today," said Dallas.
On the agenda for graduation this year: More police, more cameras, and the watchful eye of Officer Dallas.
"With the camera system, I can cover a lot of the building in seconds. From my desk, from my phone," he explained.
The principal at Dixon High School says the students are lucky to have Officer Dallas.
"The kids understand that he is willing to put his life on the line for us, because he did," said Principal Michael Grady. "We are here because of him. I am excited and very happy and pleased that he is still our resource officer."
Graduation will be on June 2 at 1:00 p.m.
Rehearsal will be on May 29.
Leaders say their main focus is making sure graduation feels as normal as possible.
Matthew Milby, the accused shooter, has been found unfit to stand trial. He is currently receiving treatment and the case against him is now pending.
ROCK ISLAND- The city says beginning on Monday, May 20, 2nd Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets will be closed to through traffic to allow for water main work.
They say traffic will be maintained using a detour route around the repair using 17th and 18th Streets via a connection along 3rd Avenue.
Eastbound 2nd Avenue traffic prior to the repair area will be detoured southbound on 17th Street, eastbound on 3rd Avenue, and then north on 18th Street.
Westbound 2nd Avenue traffic prior to the repair area will be detoured southbound on 18th Street, westbound on 3rd Avenue, then north on 17th Street.
Delays should be expected during the construction.
Traffic is expected to be normal again on or before Friday, May 24th.
MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – A man is accused of animal cruelty after investigators said they found a dead horse and two other neglected horses on a Madison County property.
According to court documents, the site is used as a horse farm and has been investigated several times in reference to possible animal neglect.
"Most people can look at an animal and tell whether it's mistreated or not," Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said.
According to court documents, a lieutenant responded to the property on an animal complaint. They found a dead horse with two others standing near it at the gate. Investigators couldn't find water or food on the property. The documents state both living horses "...were emaciated, unkempt and in need of services." The lieutenant also observed protruding bones and open sores.
This week, the prosecutor charged Patrick Moreland, 58, with cruelty to an animal. Investigators believe he is the part owner and responsible party for the property and equine.
Moreland told investigators the deceased horse was old and he took care of it, but he declined to say how, according to court documents.
"It’s not appropriate to leave a horse in a barn or on the side of the field and just let it decay on its own. It’s simply not appropriate, and it’s not humane," Cummings said.
Neglect like this is not uncommon in Indiana.
"There's a lot. There's way too much," Kathryn Caldwell, the director of Indiana Horse Rescue, said.
The nonprofit takes in horses owners surrender or that law enforcement seizes to help get them healthy and find a good home.
"Unfortunately Indiana does not have as good of laws for the horses as some other states across the nation have. We are protecting our dogs and our cats, but the horses are being treated differently," Caldwell said.
Officials urge residents to report animal mistreatment if they see it.
"It becomes very apparent when it becomes gross maltreatment. Just call the police, call the authorities. It’s no harm for them to check and inquire, and maybe prevent mistreatment of an animal if you do that," Cummings said.
Investigators said the rescued horses are in a foster home and rehabbing well.
Former President Jimmy Carter may have spent three days in the hospital, but the 94-year-old is expected to teach Sunday school at his beloved Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, this weekend.
Carter was released from the hospital Thursday morning, the Carter Center announced, and will continue to recuperate at home. He was admitted Monday after a fall on his way to go turkey hunting, and later underwent a successful surgery at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia.
“He will undergo physical therapy, as part of his recovery from hip replacement surgery. President Carter plans to teach Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church this weekend,” the Carter Center said in a statement.
In March, Carter became the oldest-living former president in US history. The former president fought cancer in his liver and brain, announcing his cancer was gone in 2015. He was hospitalized briefly in 2017 after becoming dehydrated while working on a Habitat for Humanity project in Canada, but has since been in overall good health.
Carter continues to maintain an active lifestyle, and spoke by phone with President Donald Trump on the topic of China trade negotiations last month.
On Monday, the Carter Center said Carter was more concerned about the impending end of hunting season than the fall.
“President Carter said his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit,” the statement said. “He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to rollover the unused limit to next year.”
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 91, also spent time in the hospital this week.
“(She) felt faint and was admitted overnight to the hospital for observation and testing. She left the hospital with President Carter this morning,” the Carter Center statement said.
The Carters extended their thanks “to the many people who sent their well wishes” this week, which included a tweet from Trump himself.
“Wishing former President Jimmy Carter a speedy recovery from his hip surgery earlier today,” the President wrote, adding, “He was in such good spirits when we spoke last month — he will be fine!”
Thirty-four black women are expected to graduate from West Point next week.
That will be the largest class of African-American women to graduate together in the military academy’s lengthy history, West Point spokesman Frank Demaro said.
“Last year’s graduating class had 27,” Demaro said. “And the expectation is next year’s class will be even larger than this year’s.”
In 2017, the academy for the first time selected an African-American woman, Simone Askew, to serve at the top of the chain of command for cadets.
“It makes me feel prideful that the academy is acknowledging diversity,” 2012 West Point alum Shalela Dowdy said.
Dowdy, who said she makes an effort to stay in touch with female African-American cadets to “offer support,” believes the outreach the minority admissions office at West Point is doing is the reason why more minorities are coming to the school.
“There were only 13 in my class, I just counted, but the numbers keep going up and up. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see leaders graduating from the school that are from all different kinds of backgrounds and represent the diversity of the army itself,” Dowdy said.
West Point’s graduating class is seeing diversity in other minority groups.
“Also, this year’s class will have the highest number of female Hispanic graduates along with graduating our 5,000th female cadet since the first class of women to graduate in 1980,” Demaro said.
Cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker, spoke to the website “Because Of Them We Can,” about her feelings about being a part of this historic graduating class.
“My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” she said.
West Point created its office of diversity in 2014 to try to attract, retain and promote a “more diverse workforce” according to its website.
About 10% of undergraduate students are black and women make up about 20% of cadets, according to the school’s statistics.
Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the graduation ceremony May 25, according to a news release from the academy.
“More than 950 cadets are expected to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy and be commissioned as second lieutenants in the US Army,” according to the release.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — A 30-mile charity bike ride has been rescheduled because of flooding in Davenport.
Mark your calendar! The 6th annual tour, initially scheduled for Saturday, May 4, has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 25.
Not only is the date different, but the route is different too. Race organizers said flood debris has prevented them from sticking with their original plan. With the new ride map, riders will still tour both sides of the river. Participants will start at Front Street Tap Room on West River Drive and making several stops before ending the event back there.
Here’s the pit-stop schedule:
- Wake Brewery in Rock Island
- RIBCO in Rock Island
- My Place Pub in Riverdale
- Crawford Brew Works in Bettendorf
- Rudy’s Tacos in the Village of East Davenport
The 2019 event will also include a 5k.
Ride organizer Tina Anderson said the ride benefits cancer charities. She said the organizations have come to depend on the event’s fundraising.
With the change, organizers say their event’s slogan has changed to, “Floods Suck, but Cancer Sucks Too.”
The nonprofit group that administers the SAT will assign an adversity score to each student who takes the test to reflect social and economic backgrounds, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move comes amid heightened scrutiny that colleges are facing over the admissions process and the diversity of their student bodies.
“There are a number of amazing students who may have scored less (on the SAT) but have accomplished more,” David Coleman, chief executive officer of the College Board, told the Journal. “We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”
The number will be calculated using 15 factors, the Journal reported, including the crime rate and poverty levels of a student’s high school and neighborhood. Colleges will be able to see the number when considering applicants, but students themselves won’t be told their scores.
According to the Journal, 50 colleges used the adversity score in a beta test last year, and the College Board plans to expand the program to 150 institutions this fall.
CNN is reaching out to the College Board for confirmation of The Wall Street Journal’s report.
According to the Journal, the score does not account for a student’s race. Students are rated on a scale of 1 to 100 based on publicly available data from records such as the US census, Coleman told the paper.
A score of 50 would be considered average, the Journal reported, while a number above 50 indicates hardship, and a number below 50 privilege.
The news comes against the backdrop of a bombshell college admissions scandal, which saw a slew of indictments against wealthy and powerful parents who allegedly paid their kids’ ways into elite universities. The scandal reignited the debate surrounding race and economic backgrounds and what role they play in college admissions.
Some parents were found to have paid bribes to have the SAT taken by others for their children. Not all the students were aware of the cheating arranged by their parents, according to the criminal affidavit in the case. No students currently face charges in the scandal.
A lawsuit against Harvard University also has accused the school of discriminating against Asian-American applicants by giving them low “personal” ratings that take into account traits such as leadership and likability — which lessen their chance of admission — while giving higher ratings to African-American and Hispanic students.
Harvard has denied there is any evidence of stereotyping. A judge has yet to make a ruling in the case.
The College Board has been concerned about income inequality influencing SAT results for a long time. White students scored higher on average than black students and Hispanic students in 2018, while Asian students scored higher on average than white students. And students whose parents are wealthy and college-educated typically did better than their peers.
Yale University was one of the schools that tried using the adversity scores as it worked to increase socioeconomic diversity on its campus.
Jeremiah Quinlan, the school’s dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Journal that Yale has nearly doubled the number of low-income students and those who are first in their families to attend college to about 20% of new students.
“This (adversity score) is literally affecting every application we look at,” Quinlan told the Journal. “It has been a part of the success story to help diversify our freshman class.”
The Food and Drug Administration has a warning for people who have tattoos or are planning to get them.
Six kinds of tattoo inks were recalled Wednesday after recent inspections found bacteria that could be harmful human health.
The bacteria could lead to infection and serious health injuries if injected into the skin.
Symptoms include rashes or lesions with red papules in the area of the tattoo.
The FDA reports the following tattoo inks have been recalled:
- All lots of Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks, manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics
- Lots 12024090 and 12026090 of Dynamic Color – Black tattoo ink, manufactured by Dynamic Color Inc
- Lot 10.19.18 of Solid Ink-Diablo (red) tattoo ink, manufactured by Color Art Inc.
Anyone who has gotten or plans to get a tattoo should contact their tattoo artist or studio and find out what kind of ink they use.
The FDA plans is working with manufacturers and retailers to remove the contaminated products from the market.
CEDAR RAPIDS- A man was found guilty of robbing his own drug dealer at gunpoint.
May 14, Carl Anthony McArthur, 40, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was found guilty.
McArthur was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon and person convicted of a crime of domestic violence.
According to the DOJ, on March 17, 2018, McArthur and another person went into a home on 20th Avenue in Cedar Rapids.
They held at least four people at gunpoint and demanded money.
Police say someone in the group called 911 and they showed up a short time later.
McArthur and the other person hid the guns as officers came into the home. The other person was able to get away from police.
Officers found the two loaded guns in the house and two baggies of methamphetamine in McArthur’s pockets.
McArthur admitted he had been at the house earlier in the day to get methamphetamine.
“McArthur was prohibited from possessing firearms based on a 2003 domestic violence conviction and a 2009 conviction for unlawfully possessing a gun.”
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Two reports of gunfire prompted a lockdown at a preschool.
Within minutes of each other, police said they were called to two separate reports of shots fired on either side of Fejervary Park near the Putnam Museum and Science Center.
At 2:09 p.m., Thursday, May 16, police were called to the 2200 block of West 13th Street. There officers found shell casings but no damage or injuries reported. At 2:11 p.m., police were called to the area of 12th Street and Wilkes Avenue, where officers found a vehicle that had been shot. There were no injuries at the second location.
During this investigation Children’s Village West, a preschool for three and four-year-old children, was placed on lockdown. Police said it was done as a precaution. Dawn Saul, with the Davenport Community School District, said the staff and students were moved into classrooms and visitors in the parking lot were immediately brought inside.
The lockdown was lifted by 2:40 p.m.
As of Thursday afternoon police said they could not confirm that the two shots fired reports were related. Investigators were asking for any information to be called into the Davenport Police Department at 563-326-6125.
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Police are on the lookout for a gumball bandit.
Surveillance video caught a man driving up to the front window of the Copper View Medical Center early Monday morning.
The footage shows the suspect getting out of his car, smashing a window and then pulling the giant gumball machine out of the lobby. That was the only item the person took, according to KSTU.
Dr. Mary Tipton of Copper View Medical Center said the machine is worth about $1,000. Many of her pediatric patients are upset that it is gone.
“We had a toddler in here yesterday who kept coming up to the front desk, almost in tears,” Tipton said.
The child repeatedly asked, “Who did that?” Tipton recalled.
The machine has sat in the same place in the medical center’s waiting room since the practice opened nearly two decades ago.
Doctors, staff, and patients hope it will be returned so kids can get a reward after their check-up.
The burglary was captured on a surveillance camera at the hospital.
FARMINGTON, N.M. – A New Mexico man was arrested after police say he took a drunken shoplifting joyride on an electric shopping cart inside a Walmart, according to KOAT.
Police responded to the store earlier this month around 11:30 p.m. after receiving reports of a man threatening a store employee with a knife.
An employee told police they noticed 53-year-old Tommy Singer, of Farmington, drinking a beer driving around the store in an electric cart. When that employee confronted Singer about the alcohol, he replied, “What beer?” and started walking away.
Singer then, allegedly, began to get aggressive with the employee and eventually pulled out a pocket knife, pointed it at him and threatened the employee to stay back, the complaint states.
When police arrived, they took Singer into custody and found $106 worth of stolen merchandise.
Among the stolen items were eyeliner, lipstick, four watches and Budweiser.
Singer was charged with armed robbery and tampering with evidence.
SCOTT COUNTY- The Scott County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is putting out a call for more volunteers to help with flood cleanup in Scott County, and you can help.“As river levels continue to recede, cleanup efforts are increasing.” The EMA says they have the following opportunities for help: City of Davenport Cleanup:
Volunteer opportunities for Davenport can be found here:
City of Davenport Flooding Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers who want to help cleanup efforts in other areas in Scott County can call Scott County EMA.“Volunteers will be registered over the phone and assigned to a flood cleanup location based upon need.”
Contact: Scott County EMA Volunteer Hotline 563-484-3086 Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (until further notice).To Request Volunteer Assistance:
Private property owners and/or businesses in need of assistance can contact Scott County EMA to receive volunteer assistance.
Those requesting assistance will be asked to provide a description of the assistance needed, location, and date/time. EMA will work to coordinate volunteers with those needing assistance.
Contact: Scott County EMA Volunteer Hotline 563-484-3086 Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (until further notice).