The latest local news

Aledo family raises awareness for son’s rare disease

WQAD News -

ALEDO, Illinois – A family in Aledo is learning to take things one day at a time. It’s their family motto in the face of a terminal illness. Shelby Lyon’s son Owen was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that will one day take away his ability to walk and talk. But right now, he is making memories with some of his favorite people – his classmates and teachers at Apollo Elementary.

Owen is 8-years-old and in 2nd grade at Apollo, but Lyon explains that cognitively, he's at a 3-year-old level. She said she doesn't see him advance much beyond that. It's been a year since he was first diagnosed with MPS IIIa, also known as Sanfillipo Syndrome.

"Basically we were all born with the enzyme in our brain that clears all the trash cells out," Lyon explained. "Owen was born without that enzyme. So over time, the trash cells will build up and damage his brain permanently. It's a regressive, terminal illness."

Though Owen has attended Apollo Elementary since Kindergarten, Lyon feels the time is right to make a change. Next year, Owen will attend another school better suited to his skills. It will give him the time to be social that he loves, without the structure of sitting in a classroom. Leaving Apollo is just another step in the changes that will come because of MPS.

That's why Owen's family and friends are celebrating on May 15, 2019. They are marking National MPS Awareness Day with a class party. Everyone gets a slice of cake, a juice box and a special gift from Owen, a sign that says "You are special to me." He learned how to trace the letters. Everyone wears the color purple for MPS awareness. There are handwritten messages on the classroom dry erase board declaring, "We love you, Owen!".

"He definitely doesn't know what MPS Awareness Day is," his mom explained. "But when we tell him it's 'Owen's Day', he gives all the hugs. He's soaking it all in."

And that's an everyday thing for Owen. He lives only in the moment. It's taught his mom to do the same, not knowing how quickly his disease will progress over the next few weeks, months or years. There is no cure for MPS.

"We want to enjoy what's in front of us," she explained. "So we take a breath, and we take it one day at a time."

You can read more about Owen's story and learn how to help his family here.

Arconic union contract extended; union says talks have broken off

WQAD News -

RIVERDALE, Iowa– A midnight deadline on May 15 has been erased now that Arconic has announced a contract extension with the United Steelworkers Union. It comes after weeks of negotiations, but the USW Local 105 says its disappointed a temporary agreement wasn’t reached instead.

Roy Hutt, second vice president at the USW Local 105, says Arconic has broken off communication with the union and says they were far from coming to an agreement. However, Davenport Works Communications and Public Affairs Manager John Riches tells News 8 negotiations are expected to continue tomorrow.

Hutt says the extension requires a 24-hour notice to strike, which is an option the union isn’t ruling out. For now, employees will continue to work under their current contract.

Earlier Wednesday, May 15, hundreds of union workers, family members and supporters held an informational rally outside Arconic on Highway 67. They held signs and shouted chants, all asking for a fair contract.

“We’re not trying to rob them,” says Jessica Pizano-Cruz, who’s worked at Arconic for five years. “We work for them. We like our company. That’s why we come together as one and we just want our fair share.”

Employees say they’re unhappy with the changes Arconic is proposing. That includes healthcare and retirement benefit cuts. Pensions would be replaced with 401K plans, and retired employees could also lose their benefits.

“I gave my heart and soul,” says Skip McGill, who’s worked 30 years at Arconic. “I worked hard for a long time, and they don’t appreciate it.”

Hutt says he hopes conversations will start-up again with Arconic in the near future.

One day only: Free flood cleanup supplies available in Buffalo Iowa

WQAD News -

BUFFALO, Iowa- The Red Cross will be handing out cleaning supplies for one day only in Buffalo.

According to The American Red Cross, they will hand out free cleaning supplies in the Scott County, Iowa community of Buffalo.

Those kits will reportedly include: bleach, sponges, mops, and various cleaning solutions.

Clean up kits will be available from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on May 16 only. 

They will be made available at:

Buffalo City Hall

329 Dodge Street

Buffalo, Iowa 52728

They are supposed to be available to any resident of Buffalo, Iowa that is impacted by flooding.

“To date, 263 clean up kits have been distributed throughout the impacted areas during the 63 days of this flood recovery effort.”-Maria Henneberry, Regional Communication Director

Elizabeth Warren rejects Fox News town hall invite, slams network’s ‘hate-for-profit’ model

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Tuesday morning that she is rejecting an invitation from Fox News to participate in a town hall with the network, slamming the outlet as a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

In a series of tweets, the Massachusetts Democrat said that what she sees as Fox News’ “hate-for-profit” model means that the network “balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money — big ad money.”

Fox News has already hosted Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota at town hall events this year. The network has also announced upcoming events with other White House hopefuls, including South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Warren went on to say that a town hall featuring Democratic presidential candidates “gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox — no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: it’s not).”

“I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers,” Warren added. She did specify that journalists from the network are welcome to continue covering any of her campaign events.

A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately return a request for comment.

Asked whether this means Warren will boycott all Fox News appearances heading into the 2020 election, an aide to the senator told CNN that she currently has no plans to go on Fox’s air.

“And we’re not giving them 60 minutes of her time for an exclusive major TV event so they can market it to their advertisers,” the aide said.

According to the aide, Warren last appeared on Fox News in the spring of last year. The senator’s last few appearances on the network were alongside Senate colleagues to promote legislation, the aide said.

Businesses along Davenport’s River Drive eager to get back to business

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport crews re-opened River Drive from Tremont Avenue to Bettendorf city limits -- increasing the traffic for local businesses.

In her first year as owner, Shelly Ellis says she's already dealt with her fair share of roadblocks.

"(We) literally got barricaded from all business," Ellis said. "It was virtually impossible to get here."

Ellis' shop, Java Java Cafe, was surrounded by flood waters. Still, with the help of a little humor and good spirits, Ellis and her co-owner chose to stay open for business through it all.

"Its been... really slow," Ellis said. "It's actually a really disheartening feeling. We probably would have been better off just closing our doors and waiting that two months."

Ellis estimates the business lost nearly $10-$12,000 a month. But instead of waiting it out, employees at Java Java worked through the floods.

"We just had to suck it up and be here for the few people that would come," Ellis said "We don't want to disappoint anybody. And our employees definitely needed a paycheck so we just made it work."

A few feet away, Isable Bloom has also been down on sales.

"It's a struggle. River Drive is a huge access point," said Brett Barrett, Co-owner of Isabel Bloom. He said he is thankful the road re-opened in time for their busiest season - tour season.

"We had a tour bus today and again even getting the tour buses here prior to today was almost impossible," Barrett said.

A major avenue, now hopefully bringing a flood of customers.

"We figure if we can make it through this first year we're going to be okay," Ellis joked.

Illinois marijuana debate: keeping our kids off pot

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Illinois State lawmakers this week are debating Senate Bill 7, legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. One of the objections to the plan has been concerns that legalization would make it easier for young people to get their hands on pot.

Coincidentally, schools across the country are participating in National Prevention Week to persuade students not to use drugs like marijuana over the summer.

"So this is kind of like the last hurrah before kids go out into the summer to say, 'Hey, you`ve been learning this all school year,'" said Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Faith Hardacre. " We really want to try to encourage you to stay substance-free during the summer," she said.

Research shows that students are most likely to first use a substance, like marijuana, over the summer.

"People can do them if they're bored, or they're being peer pressured, or even just sitting around," said Edison Jr. High School eighth-grader Kyleigh Hughes. "If they're willing to take them, they will," she said.

The bill under debate in Springfield would restrict recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 and older. Some lawmakers expressed concern that legalization would create an illicit market for pot; proponents of the bill say that the market already exists under existing law.

"The way to address that situation is to put barriers in place, and public health education in place, to make it more difficult for that to happen," said State Senator Toi Hutchinson, (D) Chicago Heights. "In very much the same way that we handle alcohol and underage drinking," she said.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Hardacre. "And prevention programs, as we`ve seen, they help. Our drinking usage rates are coming down, our tobacco usage rates are coming down," she said.

Some Edison Jr. High students seem to be taking the prevention messaging to heart.

"Some people like me, or in this school, have some high-end dreams that they want to do, so most of us don't choose that route because they know how harmful it is," said Kaylee Plohr said, speaking about marijuana. "Whether it's legal or not," she said.

Scammers targeting OSF hospital patients

WQAD News -

MONMOUTH- Officials with OSF tell News 8 that a new scam is targeting their patients.

According to OSF HealthCare, an individual received a call from what appears to be OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center.

The caller then asked for credit card information.

Scammers can easily fake caller ID.

The scam has been reported to Monmouth police.

“If you receive such a call, particularly if you have had no interaction with a department at OSF Holy Family Medical Center, hang up.”

If you want to double check, you can call OSF Holy Family Medical Center’s main switchboard (309) 734-3141 and ask the operator to connect you to a specific department the scammer might have mentioned. OSF says you should not call the number provided during the original call.

YOUR HEALTH: A more rigorous recovery for heart surgery patients

WQAD News -

DALLAS, Texas – Last August, 51-year old Bobby Brackens had open heart surgery and a quadruple bypass, which required doctors to "crack" his sternum.

"Yes, there was lots of pain," he recalled.

"Of course, they give you pain medication, but as far as moving around, you weren't able to move, move kind of gingerly because of the pain."

Bobby recovered in three weeks, faster than the usual four to six, because of a new cardiac rehab philosophy called "Keep Your Move in the Tube".

"It's an imaginary tube, around your arms, and you just imagine walking around like a T-Rex dinosaur," explained Jenny Adams, an Exercise Physiologist at Baylor Scott and White Heart and Vascular Hospital.

"You can do anything you want is my advice now as long as you keep your move in the tube."

The idea is not to put stress on the wires that are used to hold the sternum together while it heals.

By keeping "the move in the tube", some cardiac patients can lift a lot more than the old recommendation of nothing more than five pounds.

And by going home sooner, they improve their chances of healthy living for as long as ten to 15 years.

"So going home saves lives," said Adams.

More than 300,000 sternotomies are performed every year in the United States, most commonly for coronary bypass surgery and mitral aortic valve replacement.

Patients are  often encouraged not to lift more than 5 or 10 pounds, which can be very limiting.

Now all of that is changing because of this new philosophy to speed up rehab and reduce the risk of injuring the incision.

"It's a great idea," said Brackens.

"It's a great idea. Like I say it puts you on the road to recovery a lot faster."

In the initial study done at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, 80% of the 500 patients who got the tube training went home earlier than expected.  It was double the percentage over those who didn't.

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.

Davenport mom & dad arrested on child neglect charges

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Two Davenport parents were arrested after police say drugs were found inside their home where two children fell out of a second story window.

Police say the children fell out of a second story window on May 6, which prompted an investigation.

After searching the home on May 15, a quarter pound of marijuana was found.

Daria Marion and Desmond Grasker are charged with neglect, and possession with intent to deliver as well as no drug tax stamp.

Police reports say one of the children suffered head trauma and a broken leg, the other child wasn't seriously hurt.

Wheel of Misfortune; Daniel Otey

WQAD News -

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

On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the "Wheel of Misfortune" landed on 30-year-old Daniel Otey. He's 5'7", 150 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. He is wanted by Scott County for escape on original charges of two counts of possession Methamphetamine with intent to deliver. He's also wanted by Muscatine County for probation violation on original charge of delivery of a controlled substance.

He is listed as having violent tendencies.

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

Gov. Pritzker promises fixes to child welfare agency

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois's child welfare agency reviewed all 1,100 of its ongoing abuse and neglect cases as part of a stepped-up effort to right a department that's facing criticism for failing to prevent the deaths of three children under its watch since January, the governor announced Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. Jay Pritzker made the announcement hours after the release of a separate outside report that found that that the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services unit that is responsible for overseeing households in which children are left at home after allegations of abuse or neglect. That report from the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall research center found the Intact Family Services unit is so intent on keeping children with their parents despite strong evidence of abuse that it has sometimes left those children in grave danger.

Prtizker, appearing with the department's new Director Marc D. Smith, told reporters that Illinois "will be adopting every recommendation" outlined in the Chapin Hall report.

"I wish I could stand up here and say that there's a quick fix, that we have the magic potion that will instantly undo years of systematic issues, and will suddenly make this all right," Pritzker said. "Urgency is required. We have the opportunity right now to make dramatic improvements in how DCFS functions and to commit ourselves every day to improving on this work."

The internal review looked at the department's open investigations, not just the Intact Family Services unit. That review is complete and results will be released soon, department spokesman Jassen Strokosch said.

Pritzker said that other steps being taken at the agency include creating a "crisis intervention team" to review every case involving the death of a child. Training will be beefed up and policies and procedures revamped, he said.

Pritzker is asking lawmakers for a $75 million increase for the department in the upcoming budget year. He wants to hire 126 more caseworkers.

The Chapin Hall review, ordered by Pritzker, found a profound failure to communicate within the department; overburdened staffers; staffers so convinced that prosecutors wouldn't agree with requests to remove children from homes that they didn't bother to ask; and cases in which evidence and suspicions of abuse or neglect were brushed aside.

The recommendations include making it more difficult to close Intact Family Services cases, improving quality of supervision and streamlining communication.

The study began before last month's beating death of A.J. Freund, a 5-year-old whose parents are charged with first-degree murder. Nonetheless, issues surrounding his short life and violent death — from extensive contact the family had with child welfare workers to a determination that there wasn't credible evidence to support placing the boy in protective custody even though he suggested his mother was responsible for bruises on his body — are examined by the researchers.

Illinois has been lauded for having one of the lowest foster care entry rates of any state in the U.S. Keeping children with their families is "a laudable goal," said Michael Cull, one of the study's authors, but it can be a problem when it "becomes an overriding priority."

Shifting away from that policy would require finding more foster parents, an effort Smith said is underway with private-sector partners.

"It in the past has been sporadic, the way we reach out to people, but we're going to be very thoughtful in how we do that and we're going to tap into people's expertise to bring people in the door," Smith said.

Illinois is not the only state with a child welfare system under fire. In fact, according to the study, the rate of death due to child maltreatment in Illinois in 2016 — 2.16 per 100,000 children — was actually a bit lower than the national figure of 2.36 per 100,000 children. Some 501 children died between 2014 and 2018 while being involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or previously involved with it.

In one case, allegations of abuse were determined unfounded because the welts that an investigator had seen on a child's torso were no longer visible when the child was examined at the hospital. That child's mother violated her agreement not to allow her boyfriend near her children. The report does not include the names of the children, but one of the three children whose deaths prompted the study was allegedly killed by his mother's boyfriend.

Other problems include cases in which troubled families have extensive contact with the agency but case histories are expunged or purged. And in two recent cases where children died, "there was no evidence of ongoing collaboration" between investigators and Intact Family Services case managers.

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