The latest local news

Nursing home worker accused of sexually assaulting at least 4 patients

WQAD News -

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A nursing assistant is accused of sexually assaulting at least four elderly women at various nursing homes in Clearwater, Florida.

Police arrested 32-year-old Falo Kane, who faces four counts of sexual battery, according to a Clearwater Police Dept. news release.

Kane is believed to have worked at four facilities in Clearwater when the assaults took place – two in 2016 and two in 2019. It’s possible he worked at others, and police are asking anyone with information about additional crimes to come forward.

Police say two of Kane’s alleged victims used wheelchairs and one was 80 years old. Another woman had suffered a stroke. Kane allegedly abused two of the victims while changing their adult diapers, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Police began investigating after one of the facilities reported the sex assault of a patient.

Police say Kane admitted during questioning Monday that he had sexually abused the women, and wrote one apology letter to all four women, the paper reports.

He is currently being held at the Pinellas County Jail without bail.

‘The worst that we’ve ever seen’: Nebraska Humane Society rescues dog found in plastic storage bin

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OMAHA, Neb. – When a dog named Ellie Mae was brought to the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha, she was a pile of matted fur. She couldn’t walk and had to be brought in for help in a plastic storage bin.

She was found in the home of her owner, who had died, by those sent to clean up the house, WOWT reported.

In a post on Facebook, the Humane Society called it the “worst that we’ve ever seen.”

The Animal Medical team at the Humane Society got right to work.

“Basically it just looked like it was just a container of mops. Dirty mops,” Dr. Amber Horn, veterinarian, told WOWT. “And then we saw it move a little bit.”

“They frantically waved me in here,” Jenna Baseler, groomer, said. “They’re like, ‘We need you.'”

Baseler said the task of “just getting through the matting” to find the dog beneath all of the fur was daunting.

“I thought the emotional part would be a challenge, which I mean the emotions just kind of came afterward. You just really shut those emotions off and you’re just like, ‘I really need to help this dog’,” Baseler said.

Along with the tangled hair, groomers found feces and other debris in Ellie Mae’s fur.

In the end, they removed about nine pounds of fur from the 11-pound dog. The dog’s nails had grown to about six inches in length.

Ellie Mae also needed hernia surgery, dental work, and antibiotics to ward off infection, the Humane Society said in a post on its website.

“Now that she’s doing better than ever – she seems like a whole new dog,” the Humane Society said on Facebook.

Ellie Mae is not yet listed as ready for adoption.

YOUR HEALTH: Cardiologists can now put your health on their phone

WQAD News -

NEW YORK CITY – Dorris Jenkins has been living with heart failure for the past two years.

"It's like your heart is going like this, and you can't breathe."

Dorris spent a full month in the hospital.    Then for the next year, she was readmitted almost every two weeks.

Transplant cardiologist Dr. Sumeet Mitter felt Dorris would be a good candidate for CardioMems.

Doctors thread a catheter through a leg vein and deploy the device near the heart.

Every morning, patients lie on a special pillow which transmits the readings to their cardiologist's smart phone.

"If she's having a bad day I can log in and see, 'Hey are her pressures going up?'" said Dr. Mitter of the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology department at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital.

That way, Dr. Mitter can adjust her medication immediately.

Dorris says the monitoring system also discourages her from eating salty foods.

"He said, 'You know Ms. Jenkins, if you eat a bag of potato chips today, I'll know tomorrow' and I said 'Yeah right!' Sure enough. you eat a bag of potato chips today, he will know in the morning."

Six million adult Americans have heart failure: a condition where the heart can't circulate blood as well as it should.

Researchers studied 1,200 Medicare patients and found a 58% reduction in hospitalizations one year after implant and a reduction in costs of more than $13,000 per patient.

Doctors say the monitoring system has kept Dorris on track.

"Since February 2018 after the implant she has not been admitted to the hospital once," said DR. Mitter.

The results of an FDA post approval study presented at the American College of Cardiology Sessions showed that patients were almost 100% free from complications related to the device.

The device was first FDA approved in May 2014.

Researchers say obese patients and those who live far from a hospital would also be likely to benefit from the implant.

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 jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

Retired Rock Island County Superintendents receive highest pensions in the county – but there’s hundreds more

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Four retired superintendents are collecting the highest pensions in Rock Island County.

A pension is 80% of pay once you retire and it increases 3% every year.  The retired superintendent with the highest pension in county is former Moline Superintendent, Calvin Lee.  He contributed $400,000 to his pension payout of $7 million (what he will receive when he's 85) by the time he retired at 58. He gets an annual pension of $222,655.

Bettie Truitt, former Black Hawk College President, retired at 52.  She contributed about $200,000 to her pension payout of $7 million and gets an annual $130,000 pension.

And it’s not just schools, former Rock Island County Sheriff – Michael Huff – retired at 53 and contributed about $100,000 to his $3 million payout and gets a pension of about $100,000 a year.

Click here to see a full listing of pensions for former Rock Island County officials and employees.

Illinois residents, like Sue Mesa, was a former federal employee on the arsenal and is currently paid with a pension.

“It’s just a guaranteed retirement and I mean in today’s age you are lucky to get anything anymore from an employer,” says Mesa.

But when News 8 showed her the numbers of what retired Rock Island County officials are making with pensions she was in awe.

“That’s ridiculous,” she commented. “And the teachers are having to buy their own supplies. Yeah, what’s wrong with this picture?”

“It’s not fair to take the pensions away from teachers,” says retired Rock Island teacher, Patrice Kiefer. “The ‘higher-up’s’, they’re the ones making the big money – the superintendents, the administrators, they make ridiculous salaries.  The rest of us have to scrape to get by.”

The watchdog group, Taxpayers United of America, came out with a study earlier this week that proposed changing all new hires to a 401K style system.  That’s a change that would have to happen at the state level.

“You can’t change that,” says Rock Island County Board Member, Don Johnston. “That’s nothing you can do on the county level, frankly you can’t do that on the state level except for amending the constitution.  Maybe that’s something people have to look into for a whole variety of things to change this type of thing.”

To cut back on county expenses the county took away pensions for county board members back in 2015.

Palmer Chiropractic College unveils unique statue

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Palmer College unveiled a unique new statue on campus Wednesday, September 18.

The statue shows the college's founder Daniel David Palmer leaning over a table performing the first chiropractic adjustment in Davenport.

You may notice a small space between his hands and the table, that's so students or faculty can actually lay on it. Making it interactive.

The college historian says every detail was considered when making the statue. It was paid for through a 100,000 dollar donation.

Officials say the statue celebrates the school's upcoming 125th anniversary.

Geneseo’s “master gardener” grows vegetables and generosity

WQAD News -

GENESEO, Illinois-- Farmers have worked for months to get to this point, the time to pick their crops for profit. But Dick Mattan grows a lot more than vegetables, he's growing generosity.

It's always a good morning when you can count on a ride from Dick Mattan even when your final destination is Hammond Henry Hospital.

Accumulating over 2,600 hours of service, Mattan's been volunteering here for 17 years shuttling people back and forth from their cars to the front door.

For Dick, it's helping others that counts.

"I love the job. I love people!" says Mattan.

When he's not volunteering, he spends his free time with a different set of wheels, his wheelbarrow.

"It's a chore picking them, but it's a lot of fun," says Mattan.

He has three separate gardens on his three and a half acre plot. At 79-years-old, planting and harvesting is no easy task.

He keeps track of everything in it and everything he gets out of it, counting every single vegetable, that is, except the beans. There are just too many of those.

He takes a bite of bean here, and a cherry tomato there, but everything else, this giver gifts away. He gives thousands of pounds of fresh veggies to people at his church to people working at the local McDonald's. But one place he always gives is Hillcrest Nursing Home.

"We slice them, and then we make a cucumber salad the residents just rave for," says worker Jessica Felt.

He has a reputation around these parts. Residents know him as the 'master gardener.'

It's unclear how long the master gardener can keep giving.

"He says he likes to count his vegetables, but I think he counts them to distract himself from the hot weather and bugs that get in his eyes nose and mouth," says his wife Joyce.

But if Dick has anything to say about it, his lesson will keep growing.

"If he can just get through to one person and say hey, you can be almost 80 and still do a lot of good in the world, it would be a nicer world if everyone can do that too, "says Joyce.

And that's all that really counts.

"I'm not going to quit," says Mattan.

Dick doesn't only visit Hillcrest to drop off produce, he and his wife Joyce also started a garden there in the courtyard for the residents to enjoy.

Illinois teen who loses her memory every two hours is headed to Utah for testing

WQAD News -

KIRKWOOD, Illinois -- Riley Horner, the teenager whose memory-loss medical mystery went viral, is traveling to Utah for specialized treatment.

Riley sustained a traumatic head injury back in June after being accidentally kicked in the head.  She wakes up every morning thinking it's June 11th; her memory essentially resets every two hours.

"I have a calendar on my door and I look and it's September and I'm like 'woah'," Riley previously said.

Her mom Sarah has been told by doctors that medically nothing is wrong.

"They can't see anything," she said.  "You can't see a concussion though on an MRI or a CT scan. There's no brain bleed, there's no tumor."

On Monday, September 23, Riley and her family plan to head to Utah to see some doctors for testing.  That's where they'll get an advanced form of an MRI.  The family hopes to have results back from the tests by Wednesday.

Click here for complete coverage of Riley's memory journey. 

Video: Truck bursts into flames in Mount Pleasant

WQAD News -

MOUNT PLEASANT- A viewer submitted video appears to show a truck at a stoplight smoking and on fire.

According to Sydney Johnston, the woman that took the video, a truck in Mount Pleasant started smoking then became engulfed in flames.

It happened on Wednesday, September 18 around 12:40 p.m. on North Jefferson Street across from the Post Office.

The driver was not injured.

According to the driver, once he stopped at the stoplight, his truck shut off and began smoking.

The Mount Pleasant Firefighters were immediately contacted. Firefighters say the cause of the fire is unknown.

Woman paddling full length of Mississippi River travels through the QC

WQAD News -

LECLAIRE, Iowa -- Cruising about 2,400 miles down the entire length of the Mississippi River would take about 24 hours in a car, according to Google maps.

It takes a drop of water about 90 days to make its journey all the way down from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

But for a woman on a paddle board, you're looking at about a three-month journey.

LouAnne Harris took on the task of paddle boarding the entire length of the Mississippi River starting in August of 2019.  She started at the river's source and planned to paddle into November until she makes it to the end of the line.

LouAnne is making the journey in part as a fundraiser for "Rivers for Change," which is a nonprofiit that works as an advocate for getting people out on the water that runs through their community.  The organization is a 501(c)(3) that uses adventure, conservation and education to inspire people to connect to the water in ways they haven't experienced before.  LouAnne was a recipient of the 2019 Source to Sea Grant, giving her funding toward the trip.

The experienced paddler took off from Clinton on Tuesday, September 17 and from LeClaire on Wednesday. Her goal was to make it to Muscatine by the end of the day.

Once her full-length river journey is complete, she'll be the first woman to have paddled the Mississippi River.

LouAnne is keeping a blog of her journey on Facebook. You can follow her here. 

Apple crops take hit, orchard opens later after record-setting weather year

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- A rough weather year is taking its toll on Stone's Apple Barn in East Moline.

A brutally cold winter, combined with record-setting flooding in the spring and dry weather in the summer, means a smaller crop this fall for the apple orchard. The apples are also nearly three weeks behind schedule so the orchard decided to push back its opening day.

"The sugar content isn’t there yet, I could’ve opened it up and the people would’ve bit into it and they wouldn’t enjoy it," owner Vince Bull says "It was a tough call, and we're losing money every week to keep it closed, but our main objective is to make a top quality product for people to come and enjoy."

The orchard is also seeing about a 40 percent smaller crop this year.

To make matters worse, dozens of deer strike every night, feeding on an already-small crop.

"My dogs and I chase the deer out, and two nights ago, we chased 58 deer out," Bull says. "You figure, that's just what we’re seeing. If you're feeding 58 deer, and how many they’re eating, pulling off, rubbing, there's an awful lot of damage being done. You really notice it on a small crop year."

Once the apple barn opens this Friday, Bull is anticipating a busy, but short "pick your own" season.

The orchard is usually open every weekend for the public to pick their own apples for about eight to twelve weeks, but this year, Bull thinks they may have to close the weekend apple picking in about six to eight weeks.

 "It's gonna be like locusts through Kansas," Bull says. "They're gonna strip everything in a hurry." 

Their retail shop will stay open through Thanksgiving, seven days a week, with apples kept in cold storage for anyone to enjoy.

"We’ll adjust," Bull says. "We've got sections we can open up more if the public needs more fruit." 

One thing staying consistent this season: the price of apples. Bull says they considered raising the prices based on the smaller crop, but they're choosing to keep prices the same as years past.

"We're gonna keep (the price) the way it's been for years, and we’ll discuss that, see how we come through," Bull says. "A shiny nickel makes me more than a dull dime."

Bull is hoping for the next weather year to be more normal, but after being on the orchard for more than 40 years, he knows that's a tall order.

"That's farming, you adjust to what's thrown at you, and adapt and make it work," Bull says.

A Dutch YouTuber and his friend were arrested and jailed when they tried getting near Area 51

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Two Dutch friends said they just wanted a good look at the mysterious Area 51 before leaving the US, but they ended up in a Nevada jail, instead.

Ties Granzier, 20, and Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep, 21, were arrested about three miles deep into the Nevada National Security Site, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office said.

The site is near Area 51, which has been the focus of conspiracy theories for decades alleging the US government keeps evidence about aliens and UFOs there. Someone recently created a Facebook event page seeking people to storm the site this Friday.

But the two men say never planned to participate in that.

“We didn’t have any intention to storm it because we leave on day before the actual storming dates, and we just wanted… to go there,” Sweep told CNN affiliate KTNV. They just wanted to get a good view of it, he said.

When arrested September 10, both men told deputies they could read, write and speak English and had seen the ‘No Trespassing’ signs at the entrance of the site. But they said they wanted to take a look at the facility, police said.

Granzier told authorities he is a YouTuber. Deputies found cameras, a phone, a laptop and a drone in the men’s vehicle.

The two pleaded guilty to trespassing and illegal parking, both misdemeanors, Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said. They were sentenced to a year in jail. But that sentence was suspended and the two will spend a total of three days in the county jail if they pay a fine of $2,280 each on Thursday — when they’re scheduled to be released.

They have additionally given up the electronic equipment found at the time of their arrest, Arabia said.

“It was important to us that these men serve jail time and pay a substantial financial penalty,” he said. “We take this crime seriously. And people need to understand that we will not put up with this kind of nonsense.”

Granzier said he and his friend “didn’t want to cause any trouble” in a police video. “We learned from our mistakes.”

Car collides with Burlington bus on the way to school

WQAD News -

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BURLINGTON, Iowa — A school bus and car collided on the way to school Wednesday morning, September 18.

Burlington Police Sgt. Chad Zahn said that the crash happened when the driver of the car tried making an illegal left turn onto Roosevelt Avenue, according to the Hawkeye.  It happened around 7:45 a.m., just north of Mount Pleasant Street.

The bus was damaged after coming to rest with three tires over the curb in the grass, reported the Hawkeye.  The car was also damaged; both were towed away from the scene.

There were eight students on the bus; another bus came to take them all to school.  According to the Hawkeye, there were no reported injuries.

Despite the bus being damaged, there will be no changes to school routes and another bus has been assigned to take its place.

 

Mother rubbed heroin on 1-year-old’s gums to ‘help her sleep,’ father said

WQAD News -

BANGOR, Maine – A 33-year-old Maine woman arrested Tuesday in the death of her 1-year-old daughter is accused of rubbing heroin residue on the girl’s gums to help her sleep, court documents say.

Kimberly Nelligan, of Bangor, appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment and drug possession, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Her daughter Jordynn was found unresponsive at home in October, 2018 and was pronounced dead at an area hospital, WCSH reports. The Maine medical examiner later determined that she died of acute intoxication from the powerful, synthetic opioid fentanyl.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the child’s father told police he saw Nelligan apply the residue to the little girl’s gums more than a dozen times when she had trouble falling asleep. She allegedly told him that she would never hurt the girl on purpose, and that she had done the same thing with their two older children when they were younger.

The medical examiner’s office concluded that Jordynn directly ingested the fentanyl that killed her, the paper reports.

Nelligan is currently being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail. She is due back in court Nov. 12.

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