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Maquoketa chapter reflects record participation in the Iowa FFA Association

WQAD News -

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Student participation in the Iowa FFA Association is at an all time high and Maquoketa High School reflects that with membership more than tripling in the last year.

"With world population projections of over $9 billion by 2050, demand for food, fiber, and energy will continue to grow and thus, so will opportunities in agriculture. There is high demand for students to enter the work force that have a combination of technical knowledge learned through STEM-based Ag Education and leadership development learned through FFA involvement," said Scott Johnson, Executive Director of the Iowa FFA Association.

For the 2017-2018 school year the Iowa FFA Association reported record membership: 15,749 students. As of December 27, 2018 there were 14,452 members.

"It is common to add 1,200 - 1,500 members during the spring semester. Thus we are on pace to tie or surpass last year's record membership," said Johnson.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Maquoketa High School had 60 students in FFA. Currently, there are 203 students in FFA, according to data from the Iowa FFA Association.

Maquoketa High School is the oldest active FFA chapter in Iowa, chartered in 1928.  Agriculture Education teacher, Matt Lansing says there are two main reasons for the increase in membership.

"We went affiliation dues, which covers everyone," said Lansing, who is in his 2nd year at Maquoketa High School.

Lansing says the number one thing he heard last year was that students could not afford the $25 membership fee. Now the FFA Chapter covers a lump sum, $3,000 affiliation due.

"That’s one. Number two. We also have kind of encompassed Industrial Tech because it’s so hard to find industrial tech teachers," said Lansing.

Lansing says Maquoketa High School was calling for the position since October, 2017. In May, 2018 the call switched to a second Agriculture Education teacher to fill the teaching job that still allowed students hands on learning opportunities.

After no more than five minutes of students taking their seats in his classroom, Lansing ensures all his students have safety glasses and instructs them to head to the shop, where his 'small engines' agriculture class will work for the remainder of the period.

In the shop, students grab their tools and crank away on engines comparable to the size you might see on a push lawn-mower. Not necessarily what one might picture when they think of an agriculture class.

"Very much so I would disagree a little bit," said Lansing, "If I'm on the farm or an ag industry, like if I work at the local co-op, I have to be able to use my hands and be mechanically inclined to repair things," said Lansing.

He says the class teaches students confidence and problem solving. Students might not be able to mess up on an engine at home, but in Lansing's 'small engine' class, it's all part of the learning process.

"It's more interactive, hands-on learning and a lot less paperwork," said Brendon Koch, a junior who says he has always taken Ag classes throughout high school and plans to go into diesel mechanics when he graduates.

"Northeast Iowa Community College is where I want to go - they have a really good John Deere program," said Koch.

Even with 203 students in FFA, Lansing says he wants to see more students join the program. His goal is to have half the school involved.

"When I grew up they said run away from agriculture, go do anything else. Now it’s completely the opposite. Get involved in it. There are great paying jobs there are great opportunities there are great career paths. So that’s where my passion comes from I guess," said Lansing.

His classroom is a renovated bus barn. The shop where the students work is the old welding shop.

With the addition of a second Ag teacher, and plans to expand the courses offered within the Ag department, the Maquoketa FFA Chapter wants to raise money to build a brand new Ag learning center.

The Maquoketa FFA chapter is working to raise money for a new Ag building adjacent to Maquoketa High School. Its alumni chapter president says 75% of funding is complete. Construction will not start until the project is fully funded.

Its alumni chapter is working to raise money for the new building.

"There’s a lot of people in the community, not just parents that see the benefit to the Ag education program and want to help these kids succeed," said Skott Gent, President of the Maquoketa FFA Alumni Chapter.

He says he expects the new building to cost roughly $1 million - $1.2 million. Of that about $750,000 has been committed by the school and community donors. Construction will not start until the project is fully funded.

"We know that a lot of these kids aren’t destined for a 4-year college career and so if we can have them career ready coming out of high school it’s just going to make them all the more successful," said Gent. "We very much appreciate the community’s support in this project, the school is doing everything they can to support it financially."

Mother charged after video shows toddler tumbling from moving car

WQAD News -

MANKATO, Minn. – A Minnesota woman has been charged with child endangerment after her 2-year-old, who was in a car seat, fell out of her moving vehicle earlier this week.

KMSP reports that Maimuna Kunow Hassan faces up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine for the gross misdemeanor. She has also been charged with improperly restraining her child in the car seat and violating her driver’s permit because there was not another licensed driver in the vehicle.

Disturbing dash cam video captured the moment the toddler in the car seat fell out of the rear driver’s side door of the vehicle on Monday morning. The video shows Hassan continuing to drive away.

According to KMSP, Hassan told police that the door opened while she was driving and the child fell out. She said she parked her car a few blocks down and walked back to get the child.

She claimed that the child was properly secured and “must’ve unlocked the door.”

KMSP reports that officers inspected the vehicle, a 2004 Honda Civic, and found that chest straps weren’t latched.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 14.

Mother-son pair charged after missing Iowa teen found in Ohio

WQAD News -

PARMA, Ohio– A man and his mother are behind bars after a missing 16-year-old Iowa girl was found in Ohio.

The teen was last seen on Jan. 4 in Colesburg, Iowa. Her grandparents found a handwritten note saying she was moving to California.

Investigators tracked her to Parma, where she was located on Wednesday.

Steven Davis, 21, and Laurie Metot, 49, were charged with interference with custody. They are being held at the Cuyahoga County Jail on $50,000 bond.

“Thanks to the hard work of the ICAC Task Force, United States Secret Service Cleveland Field Office, and Parma Police Department – the girl was safely returned to her family,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley in a news release.

The news release did not explain the connection between the alleged victim and the two suspects, now how the teenager ended up in Ohio.

Fortnite security flaw exposed 80 million accounts

WQAD News -

CARY, N.C. – A major security flaw in a popular video game exposed millions of players to hacking risks, according to Forbes.

More than 80 million players around the world are obsessed with Fortnite, a multiplayer game of survival that allows players to use real money to buy video game currency.

Last fall, a security flaw allowed hackers to log into accounts without a password, according to information security group Check Point Research. The group published this video explaining their findings on the smash hit by Epic Games:

Check Point Research said hackers could then make in-game purchases, record in-game conversations and eavesdrop on conversations in the players’ in home.

In a statement to the Washington Post Wednesday, Epic spokesman Nick Chester said hackers “were never able to eavesdrop on conversations.”

Researchers discovered the problem in November. Epic Games says the security flaw has been fixed and urges users to update their accounts with strong passwords.

On Jan. 9, the Better Business Bureau announced that they had assigned parent company Epic Games an “F” rating “due to unanswered customer complaints.”

The North Carolina game maker has 279 complaints on file with the BBB over the last three years, with 271 in the last year. Only 32 have been answered, according to the BBB.

“Epic Games failed to protect customer security, resulting in several unsanctioned charges over mine and my partner’s account,” wrote one person. Another added that, “There is no phone number or proper email response time to return my unauthorized charge of $160. Nobody will answer, and I feel cheated.”

Some Fortnite forums have pages of complaints about Epic Games from players who say they have been hacked multiple times.

Fans of #Fortnite be careful, the company behind the game, Epic Games, was just given a "F" rating for failing to respond to over 250 complaints in the last year alone: https://t.co/bZbQ6cBckI pic.twitter.com/a3d3A2kL8P

— Wisconsin BBB (@WisconsinBBB) January 10, 2019

Health clinic serves those at risk of HIV

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois — The Project of the Quad Cities has expanded its HIV services and now includes a PrEP an PEP clinic at its new location in Moline.

PrEP and PEP refer to HIV medications to prevent the transmission of HIV or reduce the chances of transmission after exposure.

“If people are taking PrEP that means we can end HIV easier,” The Project’s Executive Director Andrea Meirick says.

The Project’s new space in the Caxton Building on 1701 River Drive features colorful walls and exposed brick walls.  Meirick says the clinic’s new design came about through client and patient focus groups.

“I was able to get multiple funders to work together, to make the infrastructure improve, to create the for people to want to be tested, to want to receive treatment, and to want to stay in care.”

The non-profit also houses an STD clinic with testing and treatment, counseling and other supportive services to vulnerable communities.

A Schnucks pharmacy is slated to open on-site in the next couple of weeks.

Dixon man arrested after Washington Elementary “soft” lockdown

WQAD News -

DIXON, Illinois- After a police chase forced a soft lockdown of Washington Elementary School, a Dixon man faces several felony charges.

January 17, Dixon Police responded to a disturbance call at the 800 block of East Graham Street. They found the car involved in the disturbance leaving the area.

Officers say they attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle sped off.

While in the 500 block of North Jefferson Avenue, the male passenger of the vehicle bailed out while the car was still moving.

The man ran westbound between East Morgan Street and East Chamberlin Street.

During the course of their investigation, officers learned the was Arius Jafar Malone-Ball, 20.

Officers confirmed that Ball had two valid arrest warrants, one out of Whiteside County and the second out of Lee County.

Due to the chase being near Washington Elementary School, 703 East Morgan Street, the school was placed on “Soft Lockdown,” but police say there was no risk to the safety of the staff and students.

A “Soft Lockdown” allows staff and students to move within the interior of the school, but not the exterior. This “Soft Lockdown” was just precautionary.

Arius Jafar Malone-Ball faces the following charges:

  1. Unlawful possession with intent to deliver of a controlled substance within 500 feet of a school, (class x felony)
  2. Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, (class 4 felony)
  3. Resisting or obstructing a peace officer, (class 4 felony)
  4. Criminal trespass to real property, (class a misdemeanor)

People parked on Davenport snow route during emergency say “there were no blue flashing lights”

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa – As another round of snow heads our way, cities are prepared to issue a snow emergency.  And those parked on a snow route will be towed.

It comes after earlier this week when more than 70 cars were towed from parking on a snow route in Davenport and now they are paying the consequences.

It’s a situation you never want to be in.

“How am I going to get my kid to school? How am I going to get myself to work?” questions Jennifer Garrett, a downtown Davenport resident.

Now, Garrett is driving her daughter’s car after hers was towed during the snow emergency declared Monday night.

“Tuesday morning, we woke up, the streets were empty, and all our cars were towed,” Garrett says.

Garrett has lived at Mississippi Lofts for two months now, and she claims she was never told about the snow emergency in downtown Davenport Monday night.

“Our apartment manager didn’t know, there were no signs outside, there were no blue flashing lights,” comments Garrett.

In a snow emergency, blue lights are supposed to flash traffic lights and warn drivers to park anywhere but the city streets.  But, the city argues the lights were working.

“Honestly, about 20% of those cars that we tow during a snow emergency are people who have been towed before, or have received a snow emergency ticket before,” reports Nicole Gleason, City of Davenport Public Works Director.

Three days after the snow emergency, Garrett’s car is still sitting at Fred’s Towing Service.

“The lady at Fred’s said that even though it wasn’t a snow emergency they decided to tow the cars because they expected the snow on Friday and so they wanted to clear the streets, so they towed everybody’s car,” Garrett says.

Now, Garrett along with close to 80 others must pay a $230 bill plus a daily fee each day after to get their car.

“The residents downtown need to realize that if they want us to come and get that snow out of there we cannot have cars in the way because the cars will either get damaged or they’ll impede us from physically being able to pick up the snow,” says Gleason.

Garrett doesn’t argue that, but she says downtown residents need a better way to know what to do.

“They have parking garages that we would have gladly parked in had we known that we are going to be towed,” Garrett comments.

To be notified of a snow emergency people can sign up for text, phone, or email alerts.

Public works is anticipating another snow emergency possibly starting at 6PM Friday night.

Dog finds home after 525 days in shelter: ‘She has patiently waited’

WQAD News -

DAYTON, Ohio – A dog named Cassie has been adopted after nearly a year and a half in an Ohio shelter.

“Every day for 525 days she has patiently waited for that perfect person to walk through the doors and pick her and today was her day!” the Humane Society of Greater Dayton wrote on Facebook. Cassie was the shelter’s longest resident before her adoption.

The nearly 5-year-old black and tan hound-shepherd mix came to the Dayton shelter from another facility in Kentucky, according to the Humane Society’s website.

“She has been adopted from time to time and then returned and with each return, we learned more about her and her personality,” the shelter wrote. Cassie went through training programs and eventually became a therapy dog for visits to nursing homes and elementary schools.

Officials said there may have been “a few tears” and “a few squeals of excitement” after news spread that Cassie was going home.

“She is an extremely sweet and loving girl and has been a rockstar,” the shelter wrote on Facebook.

 

Crash occurs at Avenue of the Cities and Kennedy Drive in East Moline

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois — A crash occurred in the intersection of Kennedy Drive and Avenue of the Cities Thursday afternoon, January 17.

According to East Moline Police,  four cars were in an accident with two people sent to the hospital. Police don’t yet know the extent of the injuries.

Eastbound traffic is being diverted onto Kennedy Drive for the time being but should be normal soon. Check back often.

There were at least two vehicles involved, which crews were towing away around 4:45 p.m.

Multiple ambulances responded to the crash.

WQAD News 8 has a crew on scene. Check back for updates.

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