The latest local news

Davenport business owner fears another crest

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport businesses are bracing for a third crest of the Mississippi River that could again shut down their stores. The owner of Q.Q. Beauty Supply in Davenport said she's been fighting the flood for almost two months.

News 8 visited with her in early April when she and her family were sandbagging their warehouse entrance and moving boxes of products on decks built of pallets.

She called the flood then, "the first flood."

“We lost of a lot inventory and sales in the first flood," she said. "So we have to do something to push our business back up."

She placed a big order  to make up for the losses. Le said this was her third year in this location on River Drive. The first couple of years, she build out  the showroom with hundreds of beauty products, ranging from nail polish to beauty spa furniture.

Customers responded, others ordered online from other states in the Midwest.

She felt confident this year was going to be big, and May was peak season, she said.

She never expected floodwaters would be climbing the stairs to her showroom that last day of April.

Since then, she's been trying to bounce back as fast as she can. Her sister helps out in the store, her brother redid the drywalls. She has been checking and sorting through each product to see what can be salvaged.

"We do both at the same time, clean up and sell, clean up and sell," she said. In between, it was calling customers to tell them Q.Q. Beauty Supply was back in business.

The store has lost a month in sales, she said. The possibility of a third flood is making her anxious.

"We've been, for about one month, cleaning up, getting ready, repairing," she said. "It's so stressful thinking about the flood, it makes me lose sleep."

In the warehouse, towers of boxes that had been stacked high were strewn across the floor,  having succumbed to floodwaters.

The Mississippi has has taught her a big lesson.

"Stay positive and stay tough," she said.

Channel Cat opening delayed

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois- – Officials say due to the flood of 2019, the traditional Memorial Day weekend start of the Channel Cat Water Taxi has been delayed.

They tell WQAD a start date has not been determined.

MetroLINK will announce an official start date as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you can check the status on  QC Channel Cat via social media and for updates.

Poll: Most of Illinois says marijuana should be legal

WQAD News -

A new poll by Global Strategy Group on behalf of Think Big Illinois, says a majority of people in Illinois want marijuana legalized.

When asked whether marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and regulated just like alcohol, 60% support it, with 35% opposing. Support spans across the state – 60% in the city of Chicago, 68% in suburban Cook County, 60% in the Collar counties, and 54% Downstate.

Six out of ten voters support legalizing recreational marijuana, taxing it and regulating it (60% support vs. 35% oppose).

Legalizing recreational marijuana has broad support across the state.

  • City of Chicago: 60% support vs. 33% oppose
  • Cook County Suburbs outside Chicago: 68% support vs. 26% oppose
  • Collar Counties: 60% support vs. 37% oppose
  • Downstate: 54% support vs. 40% oppose

“As discussions in Springfield continue surrounding marijuana legalization, it’s clear that Illinoisans are strongly in favor of legalization,” said Quentin Fulks, Executive Director of Think Big Illinois. “Legalization would help end the era of mass incarceration, while creating much-needed revenue for our state. Legislators should do what Illinoisans are calling for and enact this commonsense measure to make Illinois a more safe, just, and equal place for all our residents.”

Read the poll result yourself HERE.

These hunting dogs are sniffing for turtles… not to eat but to save

WQAD News -

JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa-- A group of Boykin Spaniels is helping a threatened species one hunt at a time. The dogs from Montana are specially trained to sniff out and retrieve turtles.

"They spontaneously started bringing me Eastern Box Turtles," owner John Rucker recalls. "(The dogs) absolutely know what I'm after. They know I'm after turtles, and they're interested in any and all turtles."

Rucker says his dogs have caught thousands of turtles for researchers, who weigh, measure and document each one. Monday, May 20, they were out at a property owned by Bur Oak Land Trust near Coralville, sniffing out the threatened Ornate Box Turtle.

"It's pretty amazing, these dogs," Bur Oak Property Stewardship Specialist Jason Taylor says. "They'll scent on something, and they'll start tracking it."

The dogs sniff-out a scent trail left behind by the turtles. Once they find one, they carefully pick it up and bring it back to Rucker and researchers. After that, the turtles are returned to the wild.

"There are some little spots that are remaining and we're trying to monitor the health of the Ornate Box Turtles in Iowa," Rucker says. "They certainly have a function or they wouldn't really be here. We don't really understand their function, but no doubt they have a purpose."

Taylor says once they better understand what the Ornate Box Turtle population looks like in their 40-acre forest, they'll start some conservation efforts to remove invasive species and thin out the trees that are overcrowding. It could all help the turtle population.

"They make the web of life more beautiful, more durable, more resilient," Rucker says.

His dogs struck out Monday and didn't find any turtles. The cool weather put a damper on the search.

"It's not a good day because it was not sunny and it was relatively cool," Taylor says. "So the turtles will hunker down."

But he says the dogs will get more opportunities to go hunting. They'll be sniffing around two others areas of Iowa for more box turtles.

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

WQAD News -

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 7 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.

Moline police: Teen accidentaly shoots himself in the hand with gun he stole

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois- A teen accidentally shot himself with a stolen gun shortly before lunchtime.

Monday 11:54am, Moline Police arrived at the 400 block of 20th Avenue for shots fired and a witness seeing a man running from the area.

Police say an empty garage with blood stains on the garage and ground nearby.

A short time later, an 18-year-old man Moline resident arrived at Unity Point-Moline with a gunshot wound to the hand.

Police discovered the subject was mishandling a stolen gun and accidentally shot himself in his left hand.

After a search of the area, police found a backpack containing three stolen guns two blocks away. The guns were stolen in a home burglary from earlier in the day in the 1600-block 11th Street, Moline.

The suspect is being treated for his injuries and the case is being reviewed with the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office for formal charges.

The Moline Police Department is not looking for anyone else related to this incident and there is no ongoing threat to the public.

Muscatine River Drive reopens

WQAD News -

MUSCATINE, Iowa- Mississippi Drive and 2nd Street will be open to traffic May 20, according to City of Muscatine officials.

DPW crews will be removing barricades along Mississippi Drive and 2nd Street and then work on opening the flood wall at Mad Creek.

The city says officials hesitated on reopening Mississippi Drive and the flood wall. Part of that hesitation came from a National Weather Service situation report that anticipates the Mississippi River returning to major flood stage by May 23.

10-year-old girls at slumber party fight off naked man who allegedly broke in and assaulted them

WQAD News -

CLOVIS, Calif. – Two 10-year-old girls at a slumber party fought off a naked man who allegedly broke into the home and sexually assaulted them.

Timothy Jay Picard, 26, of Fresno, Calif., was arrested and faces charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, first-degree burglary, and violating his probation, according to Clovis police.

Police said Picard entered the home at about 12:30 a.m. last Sunday through an open window while the victims were sleeping.

The girls woke up to Picard inappropriately touching them and fought him off, according to police.

Picard escaped through a window and was arrested after the victims alerted the adults in the home who called 911.

Police responded and were assisted from the air by a California Highway Patrol airplane.

Picard has multiple prior arrests which include stalking and burglary. He had been on probation for stalking.

“The Clovis Police Department would like to commend the two juveniles for their bravery and quick action in fighting off the attacker and for the assistance of the CHP’s airplane in helping with this arrest,” Clovis police said in a press release.

Lunchroom worker fired for letting student take food for free just got offered her job back. She won’t take it

WQAD News -

CANAAN, N.H. – School officials and a food service company want to rehire a lunchroom employee who was fired for allowing a student in New Hampshire to take food without paying.

But the former worker says she won’t take their offer.

“They’re not doing it for me, they are doing it to save face,” said Bonnie Kimball, the former lunchroom employee.

Kimball was fired in April after a student at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, New Hampshire, told her he didn’t have money to pay for the items in his lunch tray. She says she let him take the food for free and the boy paid his $8 lunch tab the next morning.

In a statement Friday, the company said it decided to rehire Kimball and will be paying her back for the work she missed.

“We had a recent situation where an employee violated school and company policy in dealing with our food service and our district manager made a decision he felt was right at the time,” said Brian Stone, president of the company’s school division.

She was accused of violating the procedures of Café Services — the food services company that employed her — as well as federal and school policies, according to a termination letter that Kimball provided to CNN.

Kimball had worked at Mascoma Valley Regional High School for more than four years, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. She also said that two other employees in the lunchroom quit in protest of her firing.

The Mascoma Valley Regional School District and the company said in separate statements that they will work together to review food policies going forward.

“First and foremost, it is our goal to do right by our families, community, students and employees at the Mascoma Valley Regional School District. The events of these past few weeks and the feedback I have received from parents has given me considerable pause,” Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said.

“I believe we have all learned something through this process,” she said.

While the district does not “refuse to provide food to a hungry child who cannot afford to pay,” school officials said, the free lunches policy does not include ice cream bars, sports drinks and chips that have a “high unit cost to the district and are not viewed as essential nutrition.”

It’s unclear what items the boy had on his lunch tray.

Taco Bell employee fired after Islamophobic rant goes viral

WQAD News -

BRIDGETON, Mo. – A Taco Bell employee lost her job after her profanity-laced tirade against a customer went viral.

The incident happened at the restaurant along St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton, Missouri.

Tarek Hamdan man went to the Taco Bell drive-thru to get a meal just before his Ramadan fast. When Hamdan pulled up to the window, he was met by an employee spouting anti-Muslim language and profanity, as well as insinuating that all Muslims were terrorists.

Hamdan patiently attempted to tell the employee that he hated terrorists as well but to no avail.

Hamdan recorded the encounter and posted it online.

Taco Bell Corp. issued the following statement in response to the video:

“We welcome everyone in our restaurants and do not tolerate this type of behavior. This is a franchise location and the team member involved no longer works for this franchisee. The franchisee has reached out to the customer to apologize.”

KTVI attempted to contact Hamdan to discuss his experience. He said he would talk about the ordeal in time.

Transgender woman attacked in April found dead on Dallas street

WQAD News -

A transgender woman whose April assault made national news was found dead on a Dallas, Texas, street Saturday morning, police said.

Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 7200 block of Valley Glen Drive at around 6:40 a.m. Saturday, Dallas Police Major Vincent Weddington said.

“Upon arrival, officers found the complainant lying face down in the street — deceased from homicidal violence,” Weddington said during a news conference on Sunday.

The woman was not carrying identification but the medical examiner positively identified her as Muhlaysia Booker on Sunday afternoon, he told reporters.

In a separate April incident, Booker was assaulted by several males in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex, after what police said was a minor traffic accident.

Victim attacked in separate assault in April

One man, Edward Thomas, was arrested and faces charges over the April 12 assault, but Weddington said Thomas had not been linked to Booker’s death.

“There is nothing at this time to connect Mr. Edward Thomas and the offense that occurred yesterday,” he said. Police are unaware of Thomas’ current whereabouts.

Police are still trying to identify others who participated in the April attack, which was captured on video, Weddington said. The suspects were reported to have used homophobic slurs and the assault was flagged as a hate crime.

On Sunday, Weddington encouraged members of the public with information on either case “to come forward with information to bring closure to both these offenses.”

‘Heroes’ lead police to Texas girl who was abducted while walking with her mother, police say

WQAD News -

Authorities rescued a Texas 8-year-old Sunday after a vigilant duo saw the Fort Worth Police Department’s description of the car suspected in her kidnapping and went hunting for it, police said.

Standing in front of the WoodSpring Suites in the suburb of Forest Hill, a beaming Buddy Calzada, spokesman for the Fort Worth police, told reporters that the pair, members of a local church, found the grey Ford Five Hundred in the hotel parking lot.

“As you can see, there is a smile on my face. I’m here to report that Salem has been found safe,” he said.

Police have charged Michael Webb, 51, with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony. Webb is not related to the girl, Salem Sabatka, police said.

Salem was taking a walk with her mother Saturday night in Fort Worth when a car approached and a man snatched her, police said. Her mother tried to jump into the vehicle to save her daughter, but the man shoved her and sped away, video from a home doorbell shows.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert and posted photos of Salem and the Ford Five Hundred to social media.

The churchgoers saw the posts, found the vehicle and called it in to police. Officers determined in what room the car’s owner was staying, breached the door and found Salem, Calzada said.

“They’re our heroes tonight, I’ll tell you that,” he said of the churchgoers.

Jeff King has come forward as one of the heroes and told “Good Morning America” that he knew Salem’s dad, so when he learned the girl was missing, he touched base with friends who were already out looking for the youngster. King went to the crime scene where a Fort Worth detective told him he should be checking parks, apartments and hotels, he told the show.

“We got out here and tried to make a difference,” he said. “I went ahead and started looking at parks and then just kind of (was) told this one motel and we went there. And on the way back from that motel, this one was right next to us on the access road, so we just pulled in and yeah, that’s how it happened. It’s kind of crazy.”

The second hero hasn’t been identified, but Calzada told reporters Sunday he hoped to make the person’s name public in coming days.

Salem appeared calm and unharmed, according to officers, Calzada said. She was taken to a local hospital and has been reunited with her family.

During the hours she was missing several law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security, searched for the girl.

Washington homeowner tried to defend his property with a stick. When that didn’t work, he used a gun.

WQAD News -

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. -- A Washington man was forced to defend himself Friday when a homeless intruder broke into his home.

Police said the suspect trespassed onto the property and refused to leave after being asked by the homeowner.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office said when the intruder didn’t leave, he started to come through the back door and attack the homeowner.

Detectives said the homeowner did his best to fend off the burglary suspect in his kitchen using a piece of wood.  When that wasn’t enough, he fired a single shot, hitting the intruder in the chest.

"The homeowner knew that he did the right thing, and the only thing he could do to protect himself and his wife,” Lieutenant Tim Rudloff said.

Neighbor Ernie Brown he isn't afraid despite the fact his neighbor shot someone just steps away from his home.  Brown is frustrated about transients making their way into his cul-de-sac.

“There are signs up there telling ‘em they’re not supposed to do that," Brown said.

Brown, a former police officer and Marine, said he won’t be taking mercy on anyone who breaks into his home.

“They’re not being nice. Why should we be nice to them?" Brown said.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office won’t be taking mercy on the intruder either.  As soon as he is released from the hospital, they said the suspect will be charged with first-degree residential burglary. They said because the homeowner was within his rights to protect his home, and he will not be facing charges.

Ohio students accused of putting semen, urine in food for teachers

WQAD News -

POWELL, Ohio – Multiple middle school students are under investigation after they allegedly put bodily fluids into food served to their teachers, according to WBNS.

The incident, which happened Thursday at Hyatts Middle School, could constitute felony assault, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said.

Students allegedly put either urine or semen on crepes being served to teachers at the school. Video of the incident was shared with administrators the same day, WBNS reported.

The school district released a statement saying the incident was under investigation and anybody found to have violated school policies will be “held accountable for their actions.”

Vehicle wrecked in yard at Davenport mobile home park; police on scene

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Police are on scene where a wrecked vehicle is in a yard at a mobile home park.

Squad cars were at Silver Creek Mobile Home park around 2 p.m. Monday, May 20.  The park is located off of West 49th Street, just east of N. Fairmount Street.  Police had a mobile crime scene unit as well as K9s on scene.

A neighbor tells News 8 that a vehicle crashed in a yard and multiple people fled from police.

A Davenport police officer at the Silver Creek Mobile Home park said there was no danger to the public at this time.

The mobile home park is located about a half-mile northeast of Buchanan Elementary School.  Dawn Saul with the Davenport Community School District said the school was placed on a precautionary lockdown Monday afternoon due to "a pursuit somewhere in the neighborhood."  There was no confirmation that the two were connected.

Saul said parents had been notified and there was no threat to students inside the school.


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story referred to the mobile home park as "Wood Dale." It has been corrected to say "Silver Creek"

Register to win your choice of windows, siding, or bath system from the Acri Company

WQAD News -

Does your home need a makeover?

The Acri Company wants to give one lucky winner their choice of a house full of double hung windows, a house of siding done with Royal Woodland Vinyl siding, or a new acrylic bath liner system from BCI.

Just click the link below to register to win.  Deadline for entry is December 31, 2019.

For sweepstakes rules, click here.

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