The latest local news

Silvis residents evacuated from their homes after fire breaks out in garage and trees

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SILVIS, Illinois — Residents from a Silvis neighborhood were evacuated from their homes after a fire broke out in a garage.

Silvis Police Chief Mark VanKlavern said crews were called to the 400 block of 2nd Avenue C around 1:25 p.m. In that area there was a garage and trees on fire.

“Numerous houses in the area were evacuated as a precaution,” said Chief VanKlavern.

Ultimately two garages and a van were damaged, said Chief VanKlavern.

There were no reported injuries.

Mini cow regains mobility thanks to an Iowa man’s compassion and a set of wheels

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MARENGO, Iowa --  This mini-cow is getting around just fine, despite having been born with a deformity. Why? A set of strong wheels and a "dad" who didn't give up on her.

Jered Camp, from Maregno, Iowa, spends his afternoon doing chores, cleaning, and making sure his one-year-old eats her vegetables.

"She loves broccoli. Broccoli is her favorite food," says Jered.

Angel is a broccoli-loving, one-year-old mini cow, spoiled enough to be eating in Jered's living room.

"She's a miniature zebu which is like an Asian ox," says Jered. "People think of them with the big humps on their backs."

And just like any toddler, with the help of dad, Angel's running the place, sort of.

Angel was born with deformed back legs. Her original owners tried getting her help, but after the vet said there was nothing they could do surgically, they were told it would be best to put Angel down.

But then Jered stepped in with a big idea for his rescued baby. He got her custom-made wheels.

"Her wheelchair she got came from Walkin' Wheels. They typically do wheelchairs for dogs," says Jered .

Now the second set of legs give Angel a second chance at life. With dad close by, Angel is ready to conquer every bump that tries to get in her way, and she's not doing it alone.

"This is Iowa Farm Sanctuary. We rescue farm animals here in the Midwest," says Jered .

The more than 10-acre plot of land is home to 60 of what Jered calls his "misfit miracles."

"These animals are victims to semi accidents, neglect situations just like companion animals are," said Jered, "and we're here to provide them safety and shelter like companion animals."

Now that this family is two legs and two wheels larger, there's only one requirement- every member has to have the will to move forward together.

"Everybody goes through struggles," said Jered. "Everyone has that thing they have to get over. For people to see her overcome those struggles, overcome not being able to walk, and now she has her freedom in her wheelchair to get around, it's just a really inspiring story, and I think people find peace in that and motivation as well."

Community reacts after WIU President announces he will step down

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MACOMB, Illinois - Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas announced he will step down on June 30.

The announcement came during a Board of Trustee's meeting in the gymnasium at Western Illinois University's Macomb Campus on June 14.

In a statement, Thomas said in part, "I believe the University would best be served by new leadership,"

That statement was read aloud to a gym packed with on-lookers.

Thomas will enter into administrative leave for the next two years. He will keep his full presidential salary and will have the option to return to work as a faculty member.

The announcement comes just days after a letter was sent to the Board of Trustee's asking for the removal of Thomas if he did not step down by June 30. The letter was written by the WIU Alumni Council.

WIU Alumni Council President John Sanders was present during the Board of Trustee's meeting on June 14.

He addressed the board saying, "We stand ready and willing to support and engage with the Board of Trustees," and also said, "We will not talk our way out of this, we will not cut our way out of it, but we can grow our way out of it,"

The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Greg Aguilar, spent time praising President Thomas for his hard work as president of the university.

At the end of the speech, Aguilar said, "it is vital that the final decisions regarding this university fall on the board of trustees and no one else."

Many people in the Western community are looking forward to a fresh start at the university.

"We need to let people know that we are here for the long-term. That there is no threat of the university closing and we stop talking about the university closing and we talk about the university growing," said Mark Bernards, Associate Professor.

Retired faculty member Jim Keeney said new leadership is needed at Western Illinois University.

"I think its important that the university have new leadership. There is a large amount of distrust between the current administration and the faculty and staff because of the way decisions," said Keeney.

The Board of Trustees will now need to meet to discuss the next steps in finding a new president for Western Illinois University.


Indiana teen shot to death in front of his father while trying to sell Xbox

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GARY, Ind. — A 16-year-old Indiana boy was shot and killed Thursday while attempting to sell his Xbox.

The teen, identified as Johnny Peluyera, of Gary, was with his father when they met up with two men near 51st and Maryland streets to sell the teen’s Xbox. They arranged the meeting using an online sales app.

The boy’s father said he knew something wasn’t quite right. He spotted a gun and tried to warn his son, but the teen was shot in the back as he tried to run back to his father’s car.

Peluyera was pronounced dead shortly after.

His mother, Kelly Arroyo said she can't believe her son is gone. She said he was a wonderful kid who loved video games and cars. He had just gotten his license and was about to get his own Trans Am.

His parents and sister were heartbroken.

“I just completely don’t understand,” his mother said. “I don’t understand how somebody, over an Xbox, can take somebody’s life.”

The men were described as two black males in their late teens to early 20s. No further description was provided. Police believe the men are from the area, and are asking for the public’s assistance.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

Police want the public to remember to always meet at a safe place — like a police department’s parking lot — when dealing with online sales.

Peluyera was set to be a junior at Merrillville High School in the fall.

An alligator is swimming in a Texas lake with a knife in its head

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The American alligator populates nearly every swamp, lake and river (and occasional kitchen) in the southeastern US. But when Erin Weaver spotted one swimming near her Houston home, she suspected it was the one in danger.

“It looked like a steak knife that was sticking out of his head,” she told CNN affiliate KTRK.

Alligators are frequent, almost welcome guests around the neighborhood. For the six years she’s lived there, Weaver said she’s never seen them act aggressively or attack, so she’s not sure why someone would stick a knife in this one’s skull.

“I feel that somebody did this on purpose.”

A Texas wildlife agency is expected to check out the gator next week, but until then, Weaver and her neighbors are acting as its advocates.

“I want to get help for this alligator. I don’t want to see an alligator swimming around with a knife in its head and suffering.”

Luckily for the gator, it’s one of the wild’s most resilient species. Alligator skin is covered in osteoderms, or bony plates similar to a turtle’s shell, that act as bodily armor, alligator researcher Frank Mazzotti told CNN.

Gator skulls are made of heavy, thick bone, too, so potential attackers have only a “very small target” to do serious damage. Otherwise, objects will get lodged in its skull rather than its brain, maiming but not killing the creature.

In most cases of injury, gators bounce back. The reptile’s blood contains antibiotic properties, which speed up the healing process and render substantial damage as mere flesh wounds.

In other words, don’t mess with a gator.

Mazzotti said he couldn’t determine the extent of the damage for this particular gator. The length of the blade and its placement were difficult to decipher based on the photo.

Amid measles outbreak, New York ends religious exemptions for vaccines

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Amid an ongoing measles outbreak, New York is requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated, even if parents have religious objections.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Thursday that removes nonmedical exemptions from school vaccination requirements. The law goes into effect immediately, his office said.

The move, which comes despite opposition from anti-vaccination activists and religious freedom advocates, puts New York alongside other states that do not allow nonmedical exemptions: California, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine.

“The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday.

Read More: CDC says that measles cases in the US surpassed 1,000 this year

“While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks,” he said.

Cuomo signed the bill immediately after the Legislature passed it; the Senate voted 36-26 and the Assembly voted 77-53. The bills were introduced in January.

“We are dealing with a public health emergency that requires immediate action,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman, sponsor of the Senate bill, said during the vote.

New York has become the epicenter of a measles outbreak in the United States that is now in its ninth month. More than 800 people in New York have become sick, and New Yorkers have infected people in four other states.

This year, 1,022 measles cases have been confirmed in 28 states, marking the greatest number of cases reported in the country since 1992 and since the measles virus was declared eliminated in the country in 2000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The following states have reported cases to the CDC: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

Regarding the new legislation, “this is a great step forward in protecting the public health here in New York,” Ed Day, Rockland County executive, said in a written statement. His county is among those with the highest number of measles cases in the state.

“This law should lead to a substantial increase in vaccination rates and to improved protection of our most vulnerable residents; infants, the immunocompromised and those who have legitimate medical issues. With Rockland being an epicenter of the current measles outbreak, we greatly appreciate that our advocacy and local efforts were heard and acknowledged,” he said.

Most of the cases in New York have been in Orthodox Jewish communities In Brooklyn and Queens with low vaccination rates.

Health authorities in New York say they’ve faced formidable challenges to quell the outbreak: anti-vaxers who specifically targeted the state’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, bombarding them with lies that vaccines cause autism.

“We are now countering not only the vector of the measles virus, but we’re countering the vector of the anti-vaxers, and that message — that insidious message — is just as challenging as the most contagious virus on the face of the earth,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

New York health authorities face an additional challenge: ultra-Orthodox Jews travel frequently to Israel and Europe, where there have been more than 100,000 measles cases this year.

When asked whether she thought the outbreak would end by the fall in order to keep the country’s measles elimination status intact, Barbot didn’t answer.

“We are working every day, day and night, to ensure that we get the message out that vaccines are safe, effective, and the best way to keep families and communities safe,” she said.

Related; New York City declares a public health emergency amid Brooklyn measles outbreak

Woman driving toy truck pulled over, arrested for public intoxication in South Carolina

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WALHALLA, S.C. — Police in South Carolina pulled over a woman driving a child’s Power Wheels truck on the street.

Wahalla Police Chief Sean Brinson said officers arrested 25-year-old Megan Holman Monday. She was charged with public intoxication.

Brinson told WYFF officers responded to the scene after someone called authorities about a suspicious person.

He said Holman was about a mile from her house at the time of her arrest, and she was under the influence of a narcotic.

This Honda lawnmower is the fastest in the world, hitting 100 mph in 6 seconds

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Honda’s new lawnmower is faster than some Ferrari models — and can still proficiently cut grass.

The Japanese motor company’s Mean Mower V2 reclaimed the Guinness World Record for fastest lawnmower, hitting 100 mph in six seconds.

In addition to its speed, to earn the title the lawnmower still needed to look like one and, of course, be used to mow a lawn.

British stunt driver Jessica Hawkins completed two runs, racing the mower in opposite directions within an hour, at a top speed of 110.5 mph at a German racetrack. Her acceleration from zero to 100 mph averaged just 6.29 seconds.

The mower is outfitted with the same four-cylinder, 200-horsepower engine as Honda’s Fireblade “superbike,” hidden in the body of a tractor. It achieves a top speed of 150 mph, while the company’s top-rated standard lawnmowers top out at 4 mph.

The first Honda Mean Mower held the fastest lawnmower title in 2014, with a top speed of 116 mph, but was dethroned in 2015 by a Norwegian man who built and raced his own vehicle at 133 mph.

Illinois sisters thought they took brother off life support; then he walked in the front door

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CHICAGO — A group of Chicago sisters made funeral arrangements for a man they thought was their deceased brother.

They were told he died after they’d made a series of medical decisions for him in the hospital.

On May 13, Rosie Brooks said she got a phone call no one ever wants to receive, WBBM reports. 

“She identified herself as Jennifer from Mercy Hospital,” said Brooks. “She was a social worker. She was looking for relatives of Alfonso Bennett, and I told her that was my brother. Well she said he was here in ICU.”

Brooks rushed to the hospital with her sister, Brenda Bennett-Johnson.

“They had him on a ventilator, and they had a tube in his mouth,” Brooks said.

The sisters looked at the man, who was brought in as a “John Doe.” Brooks said they told them they couldn’t identify the man as their brother.

“They kept saying, ‘CPD identified this person as our brother’,” said Johnson.

Brooks said the hospital staff said the man had been beaten badly, especially in the face.

He was found without ID and naked on April 29. Their brother is rarely in touch with his four sisters.

Bennett-Johnson said a nurse told her police identified him through mugshots and not fingerprints because of budget cuts.

“You don’t identify a person through a mugshot versus fingerprints,” said Johnson. “Fingerprints carry everything.”

The sisters said the man responded to commands by raising his hand, but he never opened his eyes. He eventually started to weaken.

The sisters signed papers to take him off of a ventilator and gave permission for doctors to perform a tracheotomy. He went into hospice.

“Within minutes, he was ice cold,” said Johnson.

The sisters purchased a casket and made funeral arrangements. Around the same time, they received a phone call from one of their other sisters. The sister said their brother was alive and well and had just walked through her front door.

“It’s sad it happened like that,” said Johnson. “If it was our brother, and we had to go through that, that would have been a different thing. But we made all kinds of decisions on someone who wasn’t our family.”

The sisters said the man they’d been caring for was later identified at the morgue through fingerprints. They said police are now looking for his relatives.

“I can’t conceive of how a budgetary issue would drive whether or not a person who was a John Doe would be fingerprinted before they’re taken off of life support. If that’s the situation, something’s got to be done,” said the family’s lawyer, Cannon Lambert Sr.

A spokesperson from the hospital said the family positively identified the man. Police reportedly do not take fingerprints unless someone commits a crime or when they go to the morgue.


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