The latest local news

Rock Island city leaders offer residents the opportunity to ask questions in person

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois  -- On Thursday, May 16th, 2019, the city of Rock Island is unplugging. It's a free open forum event where Rock Island citizens will have the opportunity to ask city leaders any question they want. It begins at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at The Establishment in Rock Island.

Mayor Mike Thoms, City Manager Randy Tweet, and directors of every city division will be in attendance.

"Anyone who has a question on any topic, there is someone there to answer it," Tweet said.

Tweet said they are expecting questions on road conditions, property taxes, and economic development.

"They have the opportunity to talk with that director one on one and put a name to the face," Tweet said. "It could be someone they have talked to on the phone, but now they actually get to meet him face to face and ask their questions and get it addressed."

Tweet said the event is also a way to close the gap between city leaders and members of the community, making them become one.

"When you get to hear a person answer a question in person, I think it is a little different then reading something in the paper or hearing it on the news," Tweet said.

The event will have free food and a cash bar. It will be two hours long.

The city of Rock Island held an unplugged event about 6 months ago. They said more than 75 people showed up and it was successful.

Donahue neighbors wake up to smoke in the middle of the night

WQAD News -

DONAHUE, Iowa -- Residents in a neighborhood north of the Quad Cities woke up to smoke in the middle of the night.

Around 1 a.m. on Thursday, May 16 firefighters were called to a home in the 100 block of North 2nd Street.   Neighbors said they had woken up to see smoke in the area.

A neighbor told WQAD News 8 that the homeowner was okay and was able to escape.  There were no reported injuries.

Investigators were working to figure out what happened.

 

Get your game on with a revamped classic toy

WQAD News -

TOKYO, Japan -- A classic 90's toy is coming back.

Toy company Bandai America is revamping its virtual pets "Tamagotchi" for the new generation.

Like the original toy, users raise a virtual pet from an egg by feeding and caring for it.

In the new version, you can have several digital pets. You can even link up with other players to travel together, and even marry to build your family tree.

The new line has four different colors, and will be available at retailers nationwide starting Sunday, July 28.

Illinois inmates sue over suspension of prison debate class

WQAD News -

CHICAGO (AP) — Several inmates have sued the Illinois Department of Corrections over the suspension of a Stateville Correctional Center debate class.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court contends the inmates’ First Amendment rights to free speech were violated with the decision to shut down a debate team at the prison outside Chicago.

The lawsuit names IDOC Acting Director John Baldwin, Assistant Director Gladyse Taylor and three other employees as defendants. In March 2018, the group held a debate on the topic of parole, during which the inmates discussed policy proposals. The inmates allege the debate class was suspended a short time later.

Attorney Brad Thomson says the fact the inmates were effectively using their right to advocate to legislators for parole angered certain Corrections Department officials.

A Corrections Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Video shows parent apparently trip player during youth basketball tournament

WQAD News -

ROCKLIN, Calif. - Shocking video captures the moment a parent sitting court side at a youth basketball tournament in California appears to trip a player from the competing team.

Players, coaches and parents from the Cornerstone Basketball Academy based in Vallejo traveled miles away to take part in the Hardwood Palace tournament Saturday against the Folsom Elite Basketball Academy.

"This specific team is our 10-year-old and under team," said Eugene Solano, the director of the Vallejo team.

Solano told KTXL he was first notified by his players during the game of unsportsmanlike conduct from a parent sitting on the bench.

"One of the kids during one of the timeouts had said, 'Hey coach, there's a parent on the sideline, it's a woman you know, I think she's wearing a pink hat,' pretty specific. 'And she’s telling their kids to elbow us in the face,'" he recalled.

Solano said coaches and parents often record video highlights to show back to their kids. The same footage also showed the woman in the pink hat appearing to stick out her foot while a 9-year-old Vallejo player dribbles the ball past her.

"Is this a specific incident that occurred with this particular parent and are there other parents who take child or youth athletics this seriously where you would actually attempt to harm a child?" Solano said.

Both directors from the Folsom Elite Basketball Academy issued a joint statement in response to the footage, saying:

We have been made aware of the video and we have addressed the situation with the parent involved directly. It is our policy to manage all disciplinary matters in a way that is effective and productive so we can eliminate incidents in the future but this is an internal club matter and out of respect for the privacy of the people involved we will not be commenting any further. 

The general manager of Hardwood Palace was also notified about the incident. He said they’ve asked that the woman not be allowed to return to a tournament. He went on to say both organizations are great teams that hold their members accountable.

Iowans on Medicaid can learn about new company in Davenport

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Healthcare leaders are holding two Medicaid town halls in Davenport on Thursday, May 16.

It comes as United Healthcare is leaving the “Iowa Health Link Program” on Monday, July 1. United Healthcare is the national insurer that manages care for two-thirds of Iowans on Medicaid.

Iowa Total Care is now replacing that company.

A provider town hall will be held from 4-5 p.m., while the member town hall will be 5:15-6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Davenport Public Library Main Branch. That is located at 321 Main Street.

Healthcare leaders will hold town halls across the state this month.

Denver mayoral candidate apologizes for not knowing what NAACP stands for

WQAD News -

DENVER — Denver mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis is facing criticism for struggling to say what NAACP stands for in a recent interview, according to KDVR.

Giellis appeared on the Brother Jeff Facebook Live program on Tuesday — hours after receiving the endorsement of two former mayoral candidates. 

The Brother Jeff Show often focuses on African-American issues in Colorado.

Giellis was asked what the NAACP means by someone off camera. She replied by saying “National African-American” before realizing she was wrong.

The acronym stands for “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”

Incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock, who is seeking a third term, quickly pounced on social media:

On Wednesday, Giellis sent the following statement:

“Yesterday as a guest on the Brother Jeff show with guest host Shay J, I was asked if I knew what the NAACP was, to which I replied with my acknowledgment of its mission and work. Then, when asked what the acronym stood for, I momentarily struggled to recall. Moments after the show, while collecting my thoughts, it came to me – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I told the hosts what it stood for and apologized for my momentary lapse.

This campaign has expanded my knowledge of other cultures, their wants, struggles and successes. I am learning more every day. I am familiar with the NAACP, in fact they co-hosted a mayoral forum along with the Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA) and The Urban League Young Professionals at New Hope Baptist church earlier in the campaign. This weekend, I will participate in the Colorado Black Round Table Candidate Forum. As Mayor I look forward to working with this historic organization. In fact, I intend to take out a membership.”

Kitten recovering after being encased in spray foam, left in garbage can

WQAD News -

HILLSBORO, Ore. — An 8-week-old kitten is recovering after he was found trapped in a garbage can, encased in spray foam.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the discovery was made on May 3.

A garbage collector was using the hydraulic arm on the truck to empty out the garbage can and noticed something was stuck, so he went to look and saw the kitten hanging upside down.

“Upon further inspection, he noticed a small cat, encased in spray foam, hanging upside down from its back legs,” according to sheriff’s office news release. “The driver knew the cat was still alive because he could hear it whining.”

He then brought the garbage can back to the disposal facility where staff were able to free the kitten.

The kitten is now in the care of a veterinarian at Washington County Animal Services’ Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter and is expected to make a full recovery.

Deputies are now investigating this act of animal cruelty.

Selena Gomez says social media has been ‘terrible’ for her generation

WQAD News -

Selena Gomez is voicing her concern about the “terrible” effect that social media has had on her generation, and says she advocates taking breaks from the platforms.

Gomez, who, with more than 150 million followers, is the most followed person on Instagram after soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and pop singer Ariana Grande, said during a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival that she gets “scared” when she looks at the exposure of young girls and boys on those platforms.

“They’re not aware of the news or anything going on,” she said. “It’s selfish — I don’t wanna say selfish because it feels rude — but it’s dangerous for sure.”

“I think our world is going through a lot, obviously. But for my generation, specifically, social media has been terrible,” she said.

The 26-year-old actress and singer is in Cannes to promote Jim Jarmusch’s new zombie movie, “The Dead Don’t Die,” which also features Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton.

Asked what more she could do to improve the social media environment, given her large following, Gomez said it is “impossible” at this point to make it safe. She also said she tries to be conscious when posting on Instagram, to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on her fans.

Read More: Selena Gomez’s best friend gave her a kidney

“I’m very grateful I have the platform in any way, I can still share things I’m passionate about,” she said. “I don’t do a lot of pointless pictures. I like to be intentional with it.”

“I see these young girls, I’ll meet them and they’re just devastated dealing with bullying and not being able to have their own voice.”

Gomez also called on people to take breaks in social media use: “It can be great in moments, but I would just be careful and allow yourself some time limits when you should use it and when not.”

The actress has previously spoken out about the importance of taking social media breaks. Speaking with Heben Nigatu on an episode of Coach’s podcast, “Dream It Real,” she said: “It is not that healthy to be on [social media] all the time. I noticed with me, I got kind of depressed looking at these people who look beautiful and amazing, and it would just get me down a lot. Taking breaks is really important. Just know that most of it isn’t real. And I hate to say that, I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s very unrealistic in a lot of ways.”

Last year, Gomez was body-shamed and trolled for posting a bikini picture to her Instagram account after a kidney transplant. She responded by posting about body-positivity.

“I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone,” she said in response.

More from WQAD.com:
Selena Gomez reveals rehab stint was for lupus diagnosis, chemotherapy

Taylor Swift sings ‘Smelly Cat’ with Lisa Kudrow during concert

Storms could get loud as heat and humidity builds today

WQAD News -

Today will be the first "warm and humid" day of 2019 as temperatures rise into the middle 80s with dew points rising into the 60s. This could bring about some 90 degree heat index values.

Our only cooling relief today will be in the form of thunderstorms, and those chances will remain quite slim. While an isolated thunderstorm is possible today, there's a better chance after 4pm today as a front slips down to around US-20. These storms could slip into the Quad City area during the evening commute.

A few of these storms could be robust, producing large hail and some gusty winds. In addition, some torrential rainfall is possible...possibly more than 2 inches where there are repeated downpours. For that reason, a level-2 risk of severe weather exists today on our Threat Track 1-5 scale. Hail will be the biggest potential for severe.

Isolated storm activity continues in the forecast for Friday and Saturday with an hour or so of rain each day. There's a better chance of severe weather with a cold front Sunday.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Indiana dad lures alleged child predator by pretending to be teen, captures him

WQAD News -

SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. – A southern Indiana father was able to capture an alleged child predator who contacted his 13-year-old child on Facebook, according to the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Jerry Goodin says the dad was checking his child’s Facebook when he noticed 29-year-old Brandon Ruff making contact with the child.

By pretending to be his child, Sheriff Goodin says the dad was able to get Ruff to come to the family’s home in rural Scott County to meet who he thought was the 13-year-old. When Ruff arrived on Wednesday, he was met by the father, who held him until deputies arrived.

When officers arrested Ruff, the sheriff says they investigated further and found out he had made friends with the child and had allegedly made arrangements to meet on prior occasions.

Ruff was arrested on charges of false informing, child solicitation, and child molestation with a child under 14 years old using a computer and traveling to the child.

Investigators are looking into the possibility of other victims. The sheriff’s office is urging parents to check their children’s Facebook pages, especially messenger, to see if their children have had contact with Ruff.

The sheriff says Ruff also had a fake Facebook page listed as Sammy Castro. It is thought Ruff could be posing as a wrestler to gain the confidence of the children.

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