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Wingsfest entices kids to take flight

WQAD News -

ROCK FALLS, Illinois -- At Whiteside County Airport, aspiring aviators got to spread their wings and try to see the world from a different perspective.

About 70 kids signed up for an airplane ride, but only early birds got to lift off as storms moved in Saturday morning. Among the lucky kids was 11-year-old Laura Azuela.

It was her third time in the air, she said. This time, she was in for a special experience. High over Sterling, she got to pilot the Piper Warrior II on her own - at least for a few minutes - under the supervision of the plane's owner and a volunteer pilot for the day.

"It felt like you just kinda have to tilt it the way you want it," Laura said. "It was kind of easy, just learning it was the tricky part."

"It felt amazing, knowing that I kinda had the control of the plane," she beamed.

Bob Thomas, Young Eagles Coordinator with Quad Cities chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Assocation said EAA Chapter 75 hosted this first ever Wingsfest to get more kids interested in aviation.

"We do need more pilots." he said.

The event also opened up the airport to members of the community.

"Over the past ten to twenty years, the airports have become off limits. They are kind of removed from the communities too much. And this is just an effort to get them back into the flow of the community," he said.

Laura said the visit definitely gave her a new perspective.

"Getting on a plane and flying, it’s just an amazing point of view," she said.

Two confirmed tornadoes touch down in Des Moines County Saturday evening

WQAD News -

A line of severe thunderstorms swept through parts of the Quad Cities region on Saturday evening bringing wind gusts up to 70 MPH and a couple of confirmed tornadoes.

Two tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service late Sunday afternoon after conducting storm surveys in Des Moines County, Iowa, just south of Oakville. Crews found damage from two separate tornadoes, both classified as EF-2 in strength with winds of 120 MPH around 8:20pm.

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The first tornado touched down three miles southwest of Oakville causing damage to trees and the roof of a house, strengthening as it moved east and causing more tree damage. The tornado then reached its peak strength destroying a farm building and throwing two pieces of farm equipment 40 yards. It also threw a pickup truck 20 yards. A home was also moved off its foundation. The tornado traveled 1.9 miles and had a maximum width of 260 yards. These pictures courtesy of the National Weather Service show the magnitude of the damage that occurred.

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The second tornado formed quickly to the east of the first one damaging trees and the roof of a mobile home. As it strengthened it destroyed a pig farm building while taking town a wooden high power transmission line. Another house along with numerous trees sustained damage. This tornado touched down around 2:24pm and traveled 1.3 miles with a maximum width of 300 yards.

As we were tracking the storms live on the air, a significant velocity couplet began to develop with this storm as it traveled east through Des Moines County around 8:15pm. Radar velocity data tells us in which direction and at what speed particles within in the storm are moving in relation to the Doppler radar itself. This signature shows strong inbound and outbound winds relatively close to one another and is one of the signs we look for when storms are producing tornadoes. With a signature as strong as the one above, it is not too surprising that significant damage occurred with this tornado.

Thankfully there are no injuries or fatalities to report with this particular storm. It does serve as a great example as to why we pledge to remain on the air while life-threatening weather is impacting the Quad Cities region.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Pay it Forward awards man who gives back to his community using boxing

WQAD News -

GALESBURG, Illinois-- "God put me here to work with people and kids and that's why I'm still here," said Carlos Duncan.Duncan has been creating a safe place for everyone in Galesburg since 1947.

"He does so much for this community. He's helped so many people graduate for their GED he's helped students get off the street and not do drugs or anything like that," said Candance Hepner. Hepner says his biggest impact is the Galesburg Youth Athletic Club.

Carlos brings in local kids and keeping them out of trouble, one jab at a time. His work goes beyond working just the youth in the community he also works with the elderly suffering from Parkinson's disease.

"He's been like a grandpa to me for so many years that it's my time and other peoples time to give back to him," said Hepner. To give back she decided to nominate Carlos for Pay it Forward, sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union.

"Candace, thanks for nominating Carlos a person who has given so much time to help the youth follow the right path," said Alvaro Macias, with Ascentra Credit Union. "It really speaks to me because I, too went to after school programs that helped me go in the right direction and people like Carlos are always listening, caring and doing what's right the core values at Ascentra Credit Union and for that reason I'd like to present you with three hundred dollars so that you may Pay It Forward, congratulations."

Ready to share the surprise with Carlos and his rock steady students.

"Carlos, on behalf of WQAD and Ascentra Credit Union I'd like to Pay It Forward to you for three hundred dollars," said Hepner.

"It means an awful lot that little Candace is grown up and did something for us that's the only way you can do it is pay it back and you reap what you sow," said Carlos.

Pound for pound he's as good an influence you'll find and it'd be hard to stop his champion mindset.

If you know of someone doing good things in your community, someone who shows the core values of Ascentra Credit Union, which are Listening, Caring and Doing What's Right, nominate them for the Pay it Forward Contest here.

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