The latest local news

Chick-fil-A is testing spicy chicken strips as chain looks to expand menu

WQAD News -

Chick-fil-A is turning up the heat and testing spicy chicken strips at select restaurants in Texas, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the Spicy Chick-n-Strips essentially combine the chain’s original chicken strips with the Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

“You’re going to see Chick-fil-A do more with spicy,” Amanda Norris, the executive director of Chick-fil-A’s menu, recently told Business Insider.

Norris said the spicy new strips are selling well.

“We only see it growing — just looking at just what we sell in our spicy sandwich,” Norris said. “So, I think you’re going to see Chick-fil-A do more with spicy.”

There is no word on if or when the spicy strips will go on the menu nationally.

Norris said it usually takes about 18 to 24 months for a new menu item to go from a spark of inspiration to being served in stores.

‘A desperate SOS’: Young whale found dead with stomach full of plastic

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SICILY, Italy – Environmental campaigners are raising the alarm after a sperm whale was found dead on an Italian beach with plastic in its stomach.

Greenpeace Italia said the carcass of the young animal — estimated to be seven years old — washed up Friday on the beach at Cefalu, a popular tourist destination in Sicily.

Grim images posted on the group’s Facebook page show the whale lying on the beach, its stomach full of plastic bags and other plastic objects.

“As you can see from the images we’re sharing, a lot of plastic was found in its stomach,” Greenpeace Italia’s Giorgia Monti said in a statement. “A probe of the sperm whale’s death has just started and we don’t know yet if the animal died because of this, but we certainly can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”

“Five sperm whales beached on Italian coasts in the last five months,” Monti added.

Experts performed a necropsy Sunday on the whale on the beach. Carmelo Isgro, who works at the University of Messina’s natural history museum and was involved in the procedure, shared graphic videos and images on Facebook.

One video shows the moment scientists opened the whale’s stomach and found it full of plastic bags.

“These are the squid the whale ate — and this is all plastic,” Isgro says in the video.

In another video, Isgro is seen putting the plastic he recovered from the whale’s body in a recycling bin. “It’s impressive. Unbelievable,” he says in the video.

Isgro told CNN there were “several kilograms worth of plastic” inside the stomach.

“The plastic probably created a block that didn’t let the food in,” he said. “That’s very likely to be the cause of death. We have not found signs that could indicate another possible reason.”

He said that the whale was so young that “her teeth haven’t come out yet.”

“I’m still shocked because her belly was completely full, swollen with plastic,” Isgro said.

Sperm whales usually live for 70-80 years, he said.

In April, a pregnant sperm whale was found in Sardinia with 22 kilograms (49 pounds) of plastic in its stomach. The dead animal, which was eight meters (26 feet) long, washed up on a beach in the tourist hotspot of Porto Cervo.

“The sea is sending us a cry of alarm, a desperate SOS. We must intervene immediately to save the wonderful creatures that inhabit it.” Monti said.

Later this month, Greenpeace and another group, the Blue Dream Project, will launch a project to monitor plastic pollution levels at sea over three weeks, with a particular focus on the central Tyrrhenian Sea, off the west coast of Italy.

Road trips are making a comeback

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois -- It seems like more Americans hate to fly and would rather drive.

That's according to a new study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ford, based on this Fox News report. 2,000 people took part in the survey.

According to the study, most people avoid the airport because they hate going through security, and don't like when their flight gets delayed.

Experts also found people enjoy driving because they can stop wherever they want, and they can pack whatever they want.

The study also showed more millennials are road tripping than ever before.

Plus, more than half of those surveyed said they are planning to take one this summer. In fact, 59 percent of Americans said they plan to take more road trips in the next five years than they did in the past five years.

THE CITIES PODCAST: What did Iowa lawmakers accomplish in 2019?

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Each week, News 8’s Jim Mertens talks with area leaders, entertainers, community activists, and interesting characters who are part of the fabric of life in “The Cities”.

THIS EPISODE:  Jim talks with freshman Iowa State Senator Chris Cournoyer (R-Le Claire) and veteran State Rep. Phyllis Thede (D-Bettendorf) about the 2019 legislative session.

You can catch entire episodes of “The Cities” on WQPT, public television for the Quad Cities region, Thursdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and Mondays at 6 p.m.

Flash Flood Watch posted ahead of heavy evening storms

WQAD News -

Storms by this evening could produce rainfall rates 1-3 inches per hour! With that amount of water expected in a short time, a Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the Quad City Metro, points south.

We begin the day with chilly temperatures and quite a bit of gentle rain. There will be a break in the showers for the midday hours as we track a warm front up from the I-70 corridor. Highs in the Quad Cities will be stuck in the middle 50s, due to an easterly wind.

Showers and thunderstorms will become widespread after 5pm as the front lifts north. There's a slight chance a few of these storms could produce damaging straight-line winds in excess of 60 mph. That window of opportunity will be between 5-9pm.

Storms will exit the region after 10pm with drying conditions overnight.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

In the Kitchen with Fareway: A fast, faster, and the fastest egg breakfasts

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois-- The month of May is National Egg Month and Caitlyn Ferin from Fareway Food Stores has a fast, faster, and the fastest way for you to make eggs in the morning.

Fast: Frittata

Faster: Oven Baked Mini Omelets

Fastest: Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble

Armored Gardens hosts employees of flooded businesses on a day it’s normally closed

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Usually Armored Gardens, a bar and restaurant in located near 3rd Street and Pershing Avenue, is closed on Monday.

However, Monday is now for giving back to their neighbors.

The business, which opened less than two years ago, is now hosting Flood Takeover Mondays.

It's an initiative that puts money back in the hands of business owners and their employees who are being impacted the flood of 2019 in Davenport.

Each Monday, businesses are hosted by Armored Gardens.

On May 20,  Pizza was being sold by the crew from Streets of Italy and employees said they made hundreds of Pizzas.

Inside, bartenders from Great River Brewery were behind the bar.

Armored Gardens donated 100% of the night's tips, and 50% of the bar sales to the employees of Great River Brewery.

More than $3,800 was raised on May 20.

Owner of Great River Brewery Scott Lehnert told News 8 his business is completely destroyed.

The repairs are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and could take months to do, he said.

Flood Takeover Monday's will continue at Armored Gardens on May 27.  The money will benefit Roam. The event will take place 5 p.m- 9 p.m.


Beto O-Rourke tours flooding in Davenport

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa-  democratic presidential candidate Beto O-Rourke toured flood damage in downtown Davenport.

Monday, May 20,  Beto O-Rourke paid a visit to Davenport. He started at the site where the temporary flood barrier failed earlier in May month.

O-Rourke was joined by city leaders and spoke with Davenport’s chamber of commerce. He says he’s heard a lot of great ideas for flood recovery that he’ll consider if elected president.

Father honors late daughter’s memory with surprise field trip for her classmates

WQAD News -

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – An Alabama father mourning the loss of his daughter decided to honor her memory by treating her classmates to a field trip before the school year comes to a close.

Monday morning, 111 G.W. Trenholm second graders shed their shoes and replaced them with jump socks at the Florence location of SkyZone.

The 112th student on this field trip would have been Jaleia Smith.

“(We) try to have as much fun as we can, but sometimes we can’t have as much fun as we would have if she was here,” explained second-grader Mia Awwad.

“I’m not going to say it’s tough,” said Jeremy Smith, Jaleia’s father. “I'm going to say I just wish my daughter could have been here with them. This is one of her places that she loved to come to.”

For her 8th birthday party, Jaleia and her friends jumped on these same mats. Three weeks later, on September 27, 2018, tragedy struck the Smith family through a car wreck. The little girl who had just posed with butterfly wings in the school cafeteria, grew a different set.

Jaleia's father wanted to end the school year on a positive note by showing his appreciation to the students and teachers. In his daughter’s honor, Smith paid for all 111 students to enjoy his daughter’s favorite activity.

“Everything they helped me through with my daughter’s situation; all the support they gave me,” said Smith. “I just wanted to thank G.W. Trenholm for being there with me through my sorrows.”

Following the tragic wreck and Jaleia’s passing, her classmates retired her student number at school and planted a tree. Messages to Jaleia have been left on her classrooms chalk-board all year also in her honor.

Dressbarn to close all of its 650 stores

WQAD News -

MAHWAH, N.J. – Dressbarn will be closing all 650 of its stores, Ascena Retail Group announced on Monday.

The women’s clothing retailer has locations across the country.

“For more than 50 years, Dressbarn has served women’s fashion needs, and we thank all of our dedicated associates for their commitment to Dressbarn and our valued customers. This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” said Steven Taylor, Dressbarn chief financial officer, in a news release on Monday.

Ascena Retail Group did not release a timeline for the closures, and said stores and the website remain operational. There are no current changes to the return, refund or gift card policies.

“During the wind down process, we will continue to provide our customers with the same great experience both in-store and online, offering them even better deals and value. We will work to assist our associates through the transition and maintain existing relationships with our vendors, suppliers, and other key stakeholders through this process,” Taylor said.

Ascena Retail Group also owns Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice.

Ford will cut 7,000 white-collar jobs

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(CNN) — Ford is cutting 7,000 white-collar jobs, or about 10% of its salaried staff worldwide, as part of a cost-cutting effort it says will save the company about $600 million a year.

Ford says workers will begin to be notified of cuts starting Tuesday, and the terminations will be completed by the end of August. About 2,400 of the jobs cuts are in North America, and 1,500 of the positions will be eliminated through a voluntary buyout offer.

The move is an effort to cut bureaucracy within the company and flatten the management structure in addition to its desire to cut costs, according to a letter CEO Jim Hackett sent to employees Monday morning.

Ford’s layoffs are similar to white-collar job cuts rival General Motors announced in November, but GM’s cuts were deeper. GM eliminated about 8,000 non-union jobs, or 15% of its salaried and contract workers. It also closed five North American factories as part of that announcement.

Ford has been making cuts over the past several months as part of a massive restructuring that is expected to cost thousands of jobs across the globe. The company committed last year to spending $11 billion to reshape its business, hoping to boost sales overseas and modernize its fleet of vehicles by focusing more on electric and autonomous driving tech.

But Ford has been slow to give details of how it will spend the $11 billion and what jobs might be cut as part of the restructuring of the business. It has said it will close three plants in Russia, one factory in Europe and another in Brazil. But it has said the moves announced so far represent only about $1 billion of the $11 billion restructuring it plans to do.

Ford also faces global challenges. The domestic unit is the strongest part of the company, and Ford reported last quarter that sales and profits increased in North America. But it has struggled overseas, prompting significant restructuring there. Last year it reported losses in South America, Asia and Europe even as it made money in North America and from its finance arm.

In March, the company said it was cutting roughly 5,000 jobs in Germany through a “voluntary separation” program. It also said it would cut a number of jobs in the United Kingdom, but did not provide more information about those positions at that time.

Ford’s struggles

Ford faces pressure to improve its profitability. Its profit margin has lagged those of some competitors. It has announced the costs of commodities it buys, such as steel and aluminum, have increased about $1 billion annually after tariffs were imposed on those products, even though it sources most of those raw materials from domestic mills. But its executives have said the effort to reshape the business is part of a longer term strategy and not a response to those increased costs.

Because of its restructuring efforts Ford’s stock is up by about a third so far this year, though its was slightly lower in morning trading on the news. Still, that’s more a reflection of how low Ford shares were coming into the year.

Ford’s market value of $41 billion is only slightly higher than that of Tesla, an automaker a fraction of its size that has rarely posted a profit. And it’s worth about 40% less than Uber, which only recently went public and has yet to report a profit.

But Ford and the rest of the auto industry is facing a lot of pressure to prepare itself for the future. The major automakers all have to buy into new technology and plan for a world full of self-driving cars and customers who would rather buy rides than autos themselves. They also face competition from tech companies that are also interested in the market, like Tesla and Alphabet’s Waymo.

“It’s Ford today. It was GM. All the automakers are looking to do this,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Cox Automotive. “Everyone cut to the bone during the great recession, then they beefed up since then. They have to figure out how do you wring more money out of today’s business to free up money for future business. The problem is we don’t know when that future business will pay off.”

Krebs said automakers are also preparing for a possible slowdown in auto sales and a possible slowing US economy. Ford sold 237,000 fewer cars and trucks globally in the first quarter, a drop of 14%. It has essentially dropped the traditional sedan from its US product lineup.

Ford is playing catch-up with other automakers, which are further along in their ambitions for electric and self-driving vehicles. It does not currently offer any battery-only electric vehicles, because it halted production of the electric Focus when it discontinued production of the gas version of that vehicle. It lags some other automakers in the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the market, though like other automakers it does have test versions of those vehicles on the road.

So Ford is looking to make new alliances as it restructures its business. It’s teamed with Volkwagen to develop new products, and recently announced a $500 million investment in Rivian, which plans to debut an electric truck next year.

Other big auto companies are also looking toward the future. GM, for example, has brought in millions in investment by setting up a separate unit known as Cruise to focus on self-driving cars. GM has also sold stakes to Softbank and Honda. Ford has said it’s looking at possible outside investors in its electric and self-driving car unit as well.

Police stop McDonald’s from selling milkshakes near Nigel Farage rally

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(CNN) — Police ordered a McDonald’s in Scotland to stop selling milkshakes over fears people would dunk them over Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, staff said, after a flurry of incidents have left prominent far-right activists doused in the creamy liquid.

Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, was holding an event in Edinburgh on Friday ahead of next week’s European elections.

But police were concerned that protesters would buy milkshakes from a McDonald’s a few hundred meters away with the intention of pouring them on the hardline Brexiteer’s head.

A milkshake-dunking movement in Britain began after video went viral earlier this month showing a protester throwing a McDonald’s milkshake over far-right campaigner Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, had the same drink thrown over him just days later at different event.

Another protester did the same to Ukip candidate Carl Benjamin, who was sprayed with a milkshake in Salisbury on Sunday, it was confirmed to CNN.

An individual who was present during the incident said that a few residents “tried to engage Carl in debate, but he merely deflected criticism.” They added that Benjamin saw someone with “what could have been a milkshake and goaded them to throw it at him.” They subsequently confirmed that the milkshake was thrown over Benjamin around half an hour later.

Benjamin suffered the same fate last week when he was covered in milkshake and fish and chips during another campaign stop. He is currently being investigated by police over comments speculating about whether he should rape a female MP.

A printed sign in the window of the Edinburgh branch of McDonald’s stated on Friday: “We will not be selling milkshakes or ice creams tonight. This is due to a police request given recent events.”

The chain’s major competitor, Burger King, took a more lassez-faire approach to the movement after news of the McDonald’s ban emerged.

“Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK #justsaying,” Burger King wrote on Twitter.

Burger King followed up its cheeky tweet with another clarifying it wasn’t advocating anything untoward.

“We’d never endorse violence — or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people,” Burger King tweeted.

Farage’s Brexit Party are tipped to take the most seats in the UK in the upcoming European Elections.

They are campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union without a deal, a scenario economists have warned would have a severe financial impact.

CNN has contacted McDonald’s for comment.

Several men facing charges and others on the run after stealing guns in Monmouth and Galesburg

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According to WGIl, Three Peoria men are facing charges for stealing around 100 guns from a local business and a farm king in March of 2019.

"The office of U.S. Attorney John Milhiser says an unsealed criminal complaint charges 28-year-olds Keith Winters and Miray Smith with conspiring and stealing guns from a federal firearms licensee — but remain wanted by authorities. The third man — 39-year-old Jeremy Howard — faces gun possession charges, and is in custody."

The indictment says Winters, Smith, and a third person allegedly drove a stolen vehicle to The Tac Shack in Monmouth, on March 21, while another unnamed individual drove a separate lookout vehicle.

Winters and Smith allegedly broke in and stole 39 guns, then split them up. Eight days later, Winters, Smith, and a third person drove to Farm King in Galesburg broke in stole 59 guns, then split them up back in Peoria.

Illinois mom fights for newborn screening for genetic disease

WQAD News -

WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Illinois mom spent the day in Washington, D.C. meeting with lawmakers. Shelby Lyon from Aledo is fighting for newborn screening that would detect MPS or Mucopolysaccharidosis.

Lyon's 8-year-old son Owen has one type, known as MPS IIIa, or Sanfillipo Syndrome. That means he was born without an enzyme that clears "trash cells" out of his brain. Over time those cells build up and damage the brain. The current life expectancy is 10-20 years of age. Early detection would save families the heartache of visiting dozens of doctors trying to find an explanation for their child's symptoms.

Lyon serves on the board of the National MPS Society. Monday, May 20th, 2019, She met with Rep. Rodney Davis (R, Iowa) as well as aides and staff members for other Quad Cities area lawmakers.

"It felt like I was on top of the world telling our story and representing all the other families going through this disease with us," Lyon explained. "I want to remind everyone that you can make a huge impact by never giving up and sharing your story. "




YOUR HEALTH: Removing fibroids without hysterectomies

WQAD News -

DALLAS, Texas  – Uterine fibroids can cause heavy bleeding, painful cramps, and sometimes serious complications during childbirth.

Most women get them at some point in their lives.

They run in families and African American women are more susceptible.

Now, there is a new minimally invasive technique to get rid of them for good.

It's been a life-changer for 29-year old Chanel Harvey.

"I think it's amazing. I never expected everything to just be normal, cause I've never had a normal period."

Just like her mother, Chanel experienced severe cramps and heavy bleeding because of fibroids, benign uterine tumors.

She had a procedure to remove them, but they grew back.

TREATMENT:  Treatment for fibroids depends on the severity, but the only proven permanent solution for uterine fibroids is hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove the woman's uterus.   Besides hysterectomies, myomectomy has been the only other surgical alternative which involves six weeks recovery and cutting out fibroids from the uterus.   Myomectomy is very effective, but fibroids can re-grow.   The younger you are and the more fibroids you have at the time of myomectomy, the more likely you are to develop fibroids again in the future. Women nearing menopause are the least likely to have recurring problems from fibroids after a myomectomy.

Hysterectomy was an option, but Chanel wanted to leave open the possibility of having children later.

But then doctors at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas tried something new: a device called Acessa that's inserted into the fibroid so surgeons can see it in real time.

Gynecologist Dr. Jessica Shepherd offered Chanel the minimally-invasive procedure called laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation.

"Radiofrequency energy is not radioactive," she explained.

"It's rather an energy that's delivered to the actual fibroid, and allows it, through heat, to decrease in size."

Heat is pushed through the device and destroys the fibroids.

"I think this is a major breakthrough for fibroid treatment and a surgical approach that allows women to resume their daily activity and quality of life," said Dr. Shepherd.

The procedure has changed Chanel's life.  No pain, no heavy periods, no hysterectomy.

"Just to know that those options are still available for me, that I can still have a family when I'm ready."

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 or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Celebration Belle offers up close river views of the I-74 bridge construction

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois – The Celebration Belle is back on the river after being held back on cruising due to the flooding.

For 36 years, the Celebration Belle has been known for its scenic views of the Mississippi River, but this season it’s all about the progress of the I-74 bridge project since the flood.

The Mississippi River in the Quad Cities is making history.

“The river gets in your blood,” says Susan Yarolem, Celebration Belle Marketing. “The flood did hurt us for the April and May months.”

After what felt like a never-ending flood season, the Celebration Belle is back on the water to give riders an up-close view of the I-74 bridge construction.

“From the water you can really see what’s going,” says Laney Ralston, a 4th grade student from Waterloo.

Captain Patrick Kroeger has the front row seat to what’s really going on.

“The most interesting part is that massive crane they have out there,” comments Kroeger. “It’s really fun to watch them try and get the angles right before they lift that final piece.”

Cranes, the first pieces of the arches, and even seeing who’s out everyday making the green bridge a thing of the past.

“I tell everyone they can tell their friend they saw the old bridge while the new bridge was being constructed,” says Mike McKean, a park ranger.

Even in high flood waters, there were no days off.

“It’s amazing to see what they are able to do with the river at all different levels,” comments McKean.

It’s safe to say progress is being made to make the project of today soon part of the past.

“It’s history, so you get to see that part of the history,” says Yarolem.

The Celebration Belle offers a variety of cruises Tuesday through Saturday.  They are beginning their all-day cruises at the beginning of June.



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