The latest local news

Illinois auctioning off rare unclaimed property

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois- An 1854 Indian Princess three-dollar gold coin, a 1984 Chicago Cubs baseball signed by Ryne Sandberg, an 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition Ticket, and rare coins and jewelry are among thousands of unclaimed property items worth over $150,000 to be auctioned by the state!

According to a press release the auction will be August 17 on the Lincoln Stage at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Additional live auction items include an 1899 large size five-dollar silver certificate, 4 uncirculated Carson City Morgan dollars, a 100-ounce .999 silver bar, and an 18K necklace with small sapphires with a matching 18K bracelet.

The treasurer’s office works hard to return valuables to their rightful owners. After 10 years of private and public attempts to locate the owners of unclaimed property, the unclaimed items are put up for auction. All auction proceeds are held for the rightful owners in perpetuity.

Collectors will have two opportunities to preview the live auction items. All auction items will be on display at the Springfield event. Select auction items will be on display in Chicago.

A list of all the auction items will be available at this link – – sometime before the August 17 auction, so check back!

The Auction preview locations and times are below

Monday, July 29 – Springfield
Illinois State Capitol | First Floor Rotunda
Springfield, IL
Auction Preview: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Monday, August 5 – Chicago
James R. Thompson Center | Atrium
100 West Randolph | Chicago, IL
Auction Preview: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

FDNY loses 200th member to 9/11-related illnesses

WQAD News -

NEW YORK — As Sen. Rand Paul halted the bill this week that would ensure a victims’ compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never run out of money, the FDNY lost its 199th and 200th members due to illnesses related to the attacks.

Retired firefighters Richard Driscoll and Kevin Nolan succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses.

“They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.

Rest in peace, firefighters Richard Driscoll and Kevin Nolan.

200 members of the FDNY have now succumbed to WTC-related illness. They didn’t hesitate to run into danger. They stayed until the work was done.

The Senate MUST fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 18, 2019

Driscoll served the FDNY before retiring from Engine 91 in East Harlem in 2002. He died Wednesday.

He was cited for his bravery during his FDNY career, bravely responding to the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, “It is almost incomprehensible that after losing 343 members on September 11, we have now had 200 more FDNY members die due to World Trade Center illness. These heroes gave their lives bravely fighting to rescue and recover others. We will never forget them.”

Retired firefighter Kevin Nolan was the 199th FDNY member to die from 9/11-related illnesses. He died Tuesday.

Nolan retired in 2007 from Engine 79.

“Kevin is the 199th member of the FDNY to die of World Trade Center related illness,” Nigro said. “So many years later, we continue to lose those who displayed such incredible bravery on that terrible day, and in the weeks that followed.”

It is with Regret we announce the WTC Related Death of Retired Firefighter Kevin J. Nolan Engine Company 79. Funeral arrangements are posted below.#343andcounting

— UFA NYC Firefighters (@UFANYC) July 17, 2019

First responders reacted to Sen. Rand Paul’s blockage, mentioning the 200th FDNY death.

“As Rand Paul was grand standing in the senate, one of our brothers was dying,” one said.

“He’s going to tweet out about the cost? Maybe the federal government should’ve considered the cost before they lied to us and sent us to that toxic dust cloud — before they sent 19,000 students back to a school in that toxic dust cloud.”

On A Mother Level: Easy Bakers

WQAD News -

Denise is joined by her friend Kevin Walker, a former DJ at B100 to talk about “The Bachelorette” for old times sake.

Kevin shares the story of having a daughter through surrogacy and adoption and explains why the quality of Easy Bake Oven treats has gone downhill.

Restaurant uses pizza boxes to help find missing pets

WQAD News -

MATAWAN, N.J. — A New Jersey pizzeria that has been in business for 45 years has found a new way to pay it forward: putting the faces of missing pets on the top of every pizza box.

"I thought to myself, 'how can I help?'" John Sanfratello, owner of Angelo's on Broad Street in Matawan, told WPIX.

Sanfratello was on Facebook when he saw a missing cat posted that looked just like his own.

"I turned around and I see a wall of pizza boxes, and I say to myself, 'this should have been done sooner,'" he said.

Flyers taped to the top of every box show a picture, description and the pet owner's information.

On Facebook, the idea has gone viral.

"I can’t believe something so simple has really touched a lot of hearts," said Lara May.

She owns the cat that started it all. Hazel is a 3-year-old tabby cat that disappeared last week during severe thunderstorms.

Sanfratello reached out with his idea to put Hazel on every pizza box. Luckily, before May could deliver her flyers, Hazel came home on her own.

"It was a very heartwarming gesture," said May. "Because this cat is important to all of my kids."

No dogs or cats have been located thanks to the pizza box method so far, but it's still early days. They just started doing this last Thursday. They are hoping to spread the word.

"Hopefully more businesses will take part in this," said Sanfratello. "That's our intent. To reunite as many pets with their families as possible."

Woman who reserved motel room for 4 teens to have sex in given five years probation

WQAD News -

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — An Arkansas woman was given five-years probation for reserving a motel room for four teens to have sex.

Malissa Kay Henry, 37, pleaded guilty last month in Benton County Circuit Court to endangering the welfare of a minor - a Class D felony.

Although prosecutors dismissed a charge of sexual indecency with a child as part of her plea deal, Henry will be required to testify in the case against Kyle Reyes, the lone adult involved in the tryst, according to KFSM.

Henry won't have to register as a sex offender. She's barred from contacting the juveniles involved in the case.

Henry's guilty plea was also deferred under Act 346, which allows non-violent, first-time offenders to have their record expunged if they complete their probation.

Henry was arrested in Dec. 2017 after police said she picked up the teens and took them to a motel in Siloam Springs, where she got them a room, according to a probable cause affidavit.

All but one of the teens were minors, including two 14-year-old girls and one 16-year-old boy. The other person was Reyes, who was 18 at the time.

Reyes said he had sex with one of the girls, and he was subsequently arrested for sexual indecency with a child. The other girl said she had sex with the 16-year-old boy, according to the affidavit.

Henry told police she left the teens at the motel and went to a casino in Oklahoma.

She said she knew Reyes and the other boy would probably have sex with the girls, adding “I should have followed my instinct, but I didn’t,” according to the affidavit.

Reyes is free on bond, and his next hearing is Aug. 15.

Cat has to have leg amputated after someone tied firecrackers to her front paw

WQAD News -

***Warning: The images and details in this story may be upsetting for some readers.***

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A cat named Pickles is recovering after someone tied firecrackers to her left paw with rubber bands.

According to Humane Animal Rescue, she was brought in by good Samaritans over the weekend.

Her leg was severely infected and infested with maggots.

“There wasn’t really any paw left. What was still there was barely hanging on by the rubber bands,” said Jamie Wilson, Director of Medical Business. “Her bone was exposed and she was severely dehydrated.”

Due to the extent of Pickles’ injury, vets decided it was best to amputate her entire leg.

The shelter said the surgery went well and she will eventually be put up for adoption.

Mother, daughter accused in murder of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez now charged with death of baby taken from her womb

WQAD News -

CHICAGO — The mother and daughter accused of killing 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez and cutting her baby boy from her womb have now been charged in the infant’s death, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter, Desiree Figueroa, are expected to appear in bond court Thursday afternoon. The two already face multiple counts, including first-degree murder in Ochoa-Lopez’s death.

Piotr Bobak, Clarisa’s boyfriend, is charged with concealment of a homicide and obstruction of justice in the death of Ochoa-Lopez.

The medical coroner said baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez’s cause of death was lack of oxygen to the brain. He lived in intensive care for 53 days with severe brain damage before passing away.

Clarisa Figueroa allegedly lured Ochoa-Lopez to her home April 23 in order to carry out the murder. She was accused of strangling the 19-year-old mother and cutting the child from her womb. She was also accused of claiming baby Yovanny as her own.

You’ll never guess how many men were arrested at a Florida Five Guys.

WQAD News -

STUART, Fla. – A fistfight at a Florida Five Guys led to – you guessed it – five guys being arrested, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The Stuart Police Department shared a Facebook post that seemed to pick up on the irony of the situation.

“Five guys were involved in the fight, and those five guys found themselves under arrest,” they wrote.

According to the post, three juvenile males and two adult males were arrested, but the cause of the fight is not known.

Motorcyclist dies from injuries one week after crash in Jo Daviess County

WQAD News -

ELIZABETH, Illinois — A motorcyclist died about a week after a crash sent him and a passenger to the hospital.

According to the crash report, a motorcycle with two riders pulled onto Highway 20 E from South Derinda Road around 3 p.m. Sunday, July 7.  That’s when an eastbound vehicle on Highway 20 crashed into the motorcycle.

The two people on the motorcycle were flown to Iowa City for treatment, according to the report from the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department.  On Monday, July 15, the driver of the motorcycle died from his injuries.  He was identified as 68-year-old Gary M. Dangelser from Bellevue, Iowa.

There have been no charges filed in the crash.

Kids with disabilities can now get special Halloween costumes at Target

WQAD News -

Parents of children with disabilities often go out of their way to make creative Halloween costumes. This year, they will have the option to buy them at a big-name store.

Target’s Hyde and Eek! Boutique has unveiled two Halloween costumes adapted for wheelchair users. The company hopes they’ll help even more children take part in the holiday fun.

One of the collection’s wheelchair covers transforms the chair into a purple princess carriage. The other turns the chair into a pirate ship, complete with a Jolly Roger flag and waves for the wheels.

The matching wheelchair covers are sold separately.

There are also two new costumes with flat seams and no tags, for children with sensory issues: a shark and a unicorn.

Two years ago, the chain added clothing designed for children with sensory processing sensitivities, which can include autism. Designers removed itchy tags, seams and other details that the children could find irritating or uncomfortable.

Through these collections, the company saw that changing small details of its designs could have a huge impact, according to a Target spokeswoman.

Target also unveiled of a series of sensory-friendly home items this spring.

Watch for these warning signs as the heat arrives

WQAD News -

No matter what kind of physical shape you may be in, the heat impacts all of us once our natural cooling system within our bodies becomes overwhelmed thanks to the high humidity.

Using Friday, which is currently forecast to be the hottest day of the week as an example, we can see just how quickly our health can decline in the hot and humid conditions. The high temperature is expected to reach somewhere around 100° by the afternoon which will push heat index values to 110°-115°. Working outside in this environment while not remaining hydrated and skipping any rest periods, our body temperature can rise to 100° in as little as 20 minutes. Once this temperature is reached, hyperthermia begins to set in. This is exactly opposite of hypothermia, which we see during extreme cold. Your body will begin to sweat excessively and you'll develop a severe thirst. Your skin will also begin to look flushed or pale in color.

Within 60-90 minutes immediate medical attention will be required as your body temperature soars to 107°. This comes alongside a severe headache, periods of fainting or loss of consciousness. You'll also stop sweating completely. Your internal organs, such as your brain and digestive system components will also begin to swell, possibly causing long-term damage. If you notice anyone who is exhibiting these symptoms, it is best to call 9-1-1 immediately.

When you look at all of the weather related fatalities in the last 30 years, on average heat kills more people than flooding, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The reason? Once the humidity becomes a factor, most traditional cooling methods, such as fans, are not effective. The humidity cuts down on the amount of evaporation that is possible from the surface of our skin, and it's that evaporation process that helps cool our body naturally.

During this extended hot period, it's best to always keep in mind our neighbors, friends, and family who may not have air conditioning in their living space. Check on them frequently to make sure they are not becoming victims of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The same goes for pets. If you are not comfortable, your pet is also not comfortable. Make sure they have plenty of water. Do not leave them inside vehicles, even with the windows down or cracked.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

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