The latest local news

Bill that would allow FOID cards to be presented electronically in Illinois passes the Senate

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – A bill that would allow firearm owners to present an electronic FOID card on their phone, or any other electronic device, unanimously passed the Illinois Senate on April 25, and now heads to the House for consideration.

State Senator Neil Anderson, a Republican who represents District 36, which includes Rock Island, Whiteside, Carroll and Henry counties, sponsors the bill and said the bill is necessary because law abiding citizens should not be charged with a crime for “forgetting a piece of paper.”

“It happens to all of us from time to time, we forget things – in this case, it might be your wallet with your FOID card inside,” Anderson said. “But no matter how often we forget things, we seem to remember our phone. An electronic version of your FOID card would make things easier on law enforcement and our court system – as they wouldn’t get bogged down charging a law abiding citizen with a crime and then dealing with all the paperwork simply because he or she forgot their FOID card at home”

Senate Bill 2677 would allow the Illinois State Police to develop a system in which a FOID card holder could access the system electronically and show law enforcement if he or she were stopped. The legislation would also require security features be developed to ensure the electronic version is accurate and current.

Law enforcement would continue to have the ability to back check the validity and status of a FOID card holder through the FOID card database used by law enforcement. Right now, it can be a class A misdemeanor if someone is caught with a gun in Illinois without possessing their FOID card.

Burlington man charged with arson after setting a garage on fire as retaliation

WQAD News -

BURLINGTON, Iowa – Police have charged a man who they say admitted he intentionally set a garage on fire as a form of retaliation.

36-year-old Terence Carter, of Burlington, is charged with arson, and is being held in the Des Moines County Correctional Center on a $10,000 bond.

Police say multiple fire departments, and police officers were dispatched to 906 S 13th Street in Burlington just before 9:00 P.M. on April 24, and upon arrival they found a garage fully engulfed in flames.

Police say the fire was determined suspicious and that the Fire Marshall and Burlington Police were called in to investigate.

Surveillance video showed a white man starting the fire near the garage and officers were able to locate a man near the fire that matched the description on the video. That man was later identified as Carter.

Carter was interviewed and admitted that he intentionally set the fire. Police say he told them it was retaliation for the resident at that address having previously tampered with Carter’s girlfriend’s vehicle.

The 36-year old is now awaiting his initial court appearance.

Mercer County farmer on track for successful season despite tariff talk

WQAD News -

VIOLA, Illinois -- If planting is his annual rite of Spring, then Chad Bell can't afford to be wrong.

The quick weather turnaround is putting him on schedule for planting about 1,000 acres in Mercer County.

"Given one week out of the spring, I'd shoot for the last full week of April," he said on Wednesday, April 25.

Finally getting good weather, this third-generation farmer is planting the 2018 corn crop.

Timing is also crucial for tariffs, which threaten Bell's bottom line.

"Margins are pretty thin right now as it is," he continued. "You can really see that put us into the red ink."

Important because corn is the top crop in Northern Illinois.  So far, Illinois farmers planting just 4% of the crop. Iowa farmers are still waiting to get going.

Their window typically runs from now until mid-May.

After four consecutive solid years in Mercer County, Bell feels good about 2018.

"It's nice to hit the reset button again and start over," he said. "Shoot for high yields again this year."

But while Bell feels relatively good about the land, he's also keeping an eye on the global economy.  A possible trade war makes it tough to think about the growing season.

"It will be detrimental to all farmers, including younger farmers like myself," he concluded.

For Chad Bell, timing is everything - from planting to profits.

YouTube kids adds new controls for parents

WQAD News -

(CNN Money) — YouTube Kids has struggled with disturbing videos, like beloved Disney characters in violent or sexual situations, sneaking past its automated filters.

Now the app is adding new settings to give parents more control over what videos their kids can see.

The company announced Wednesday an option to filter videos by “approved content only,” so parents can whitelist channels and subjects.

The effort comes four months after reports called attention to troves of videos with inappropriate themes on the video-sharing site’s kid-friendly platform. Content for YouTube Kids is selected from the main YouTube app and screened using machine learning algorithms. But some videos, such as cartoons disguised as age appropriate, slip through the cracks.

Once the new setting is turned on, users can pick collections from trusted creators such as PBS and Kidz Bop, or themed collections curated by YouTube Kids itself.

YouTube is launching another tool later this year that will let parents choose every video or channel their kid can see in the app.

“While no system is perfect, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app. And, as always, we encourage parents to block and flag videos for review that they don’t think should be in the YouTube Kids app,” the company said in a blog post announcing the new features.

It’s the kind of control parents have been asking for from the popular app, but it also puts the onus on them to filter content. It’s a side effect of the way YouTube Kids finds its videos.

When a video for children is uploaded to the main YouTube platform, it is not automatically added to the YouTube Kids library. The videos are reviewed by machine learning algorithms to determine whether or not they are appropriate for the app.

The automated process — one YouTube calls very thorough — can take days. A human doesn’t check the videos before they’re added, but parents can flag videos they find alarming later and a content reviewer will check it out.

However, it’s unlikely parents are constantly watching YouTube Kids videos along with their children. It’s possible this safety guard isn’t sufficient for catching every odd video your kid might see.

The flag-the-video-later system has created some problems for the service. Some YouTube creators have uploaded concerning videos marked as kids content that slips past the screening process. These videos have included Spiderman urinating on Frozen’s Elsa, Peppa Pig drinking bleach, and Micky Mouse getting run over by a car.

The company continues to change its rules to crack down on the issue, but creators are constantly looking for ways to trick the system.

YouTube Kids still has its main library available by default for now, and the company says it is working on more controls for parents.

Former President George H.W. Bush moved out of Intensive Care Unit

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Former President George H.W. Bush has been moved out of the intensive care unit to a regular patient room after earlier contracting an infection that spread to his blood, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

The 41st President is “alert and talking with hospital staff, family and friends, and his doctors are very pleased with his progress,” the spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a statement, adding that Bush is expected to remain at Houston Methodist Hospital for several more days.

“President Bush naturally thanks everyone for their prayers and good wishes. He also wants to assure everyone that, as good as he feels now, he is more focused on the Houston Rockets closing out their playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves than anything that landed him in the hospital.”

Earlier Wednesday, a source close to the Bush family said the 41st President was doing much better, pointing to a tweet from Bush’s Twitter account that thanked Houston authorities for their handling of Barbara Bush’s funeral as a positive indication of Bush’s recovery.

Bush, 93, was admitted to the hospital Sunday morning after contracting the infection, McGrath said, a day after a funeral was held for his wife.

According to McGrath, the 41st President has said he is determined to get healthy and get to Maine this summer. On Monday, McGrath said Bush was “responding to treatments and appears to be recovering.”

According to a source close to the former Republican President, Bush was admitted to the hospital with an infection that led to sepsis, which can be life-threatening. He was in critical condition, the source said.

The source added that Bush’s blood pressure kept dropping and a couple of times there was serious concern about whether he was going to come through, but that he had been stabilized.

Tabasco celebrates 150th anniversary with high-end ‘champagne of pepper sauce’

WQAD News -

Photo courtesy Tabasco

NEW IBERIA, La. – Tabasco is celebrating 150 years of pepper sauce with a limited edition Diamond Reserve Red Sauce that’s blended with sparkling wine vinegar, according to WGNO.

According to Tabasco, the new sauce is made “from a selection of the finest tabasco peppers on Avery Island, chosen for their superior color, texture and robustness.”

“These peppers are mashed with a small amount of salt, then aged – some for up to fifteen years – and blended with sparkling white wine vinegar,” according to the Tabasco website.

It comes in a champagne-style bottle. The six-ounce bottle can be yours for only $35. Click here for more info.

Abingdon woman dies in traffic collision near Monmouth

WQAD News -

MONMOUTH, Illinois — A 21-year-old Abingdon, Illinois woman died from injuries sustained in a traffic crash that happened shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 25 in rural Warren County northeast of Monmouth.

According to Illinois State Police, Katelyn A. Katzell, 21, was travelling west on 245th Avenue when she failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of 120th Street. Her vehicle was struck by a pickup truck that was heading south on 120th Street, which hit Katzell’s front passenger side and sent her vehicle into a field.

Paramedics responded to the scene and transported Katzell as well as the driver of the truck, Christopher B. Carson, 33 of Gerlaw, Illinois, to the hospital in Galesburg.

Katzell succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. Carson was treated and released.

The police report noted Katzell was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. No charges have been filed as a result. The crash remains under investigation.

Bill to expunge marijuana convictions goes to Illinois House floor

WQAD News -

Illinois is one step closer to allowing people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana or paraphernalia to expunge their criminal convictions.

Before 2016, those caught in possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana could face jail time. Such offenses are now civil infractions rather than criminal ones thanks to a change in state law.

With the 2016 change allowing civil penalties instead of criminal charges for low level pot offenses, law enforcement agencies that issued a citation are supposed to expunge such citations on or before Jan. 1 and July 1 of each year.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford’s House Bill 2367 would allow those with criminal convictions before the law change in 2016 to ask a judge to have the conviction expunged.

“And law enforcement would have a right to object to it and I think that’s fair,” Ford, D-Chicago, said. “You have to go before a judge, the judge will look at it, and ultimately grant a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ ”

Ford’s measure says a petitioner may ask the circuit court to expunge records of a conviction or plea of guilty for an offense from before July 29, 2016, if three years or more have passed since the petitioner has completed their sentence.

Ford’s measure passed out of committee Tuesday with two of the three Republicans voting in opposition.

State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said he sides with the Sheriff’s Association, which wants to keep the existing expungement processes.

“I’m willing to give it more time,” Reick said.

State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, supported the measure. She said it makes sense.

“If it’s a petty offense, you should be able to have it off your record,” Parkhurst said.

Ford said his bill allowing previous criminal convictions to be expunged will help people better themselves.

“If we can find ways in Illinois to put more people in the tax bracket, that’s what we should be doing and not having people stuck with felonies on their record that probably shouldn’t have been a felony in the first place,” Ford said.

Parkhurst agreed.

“It seemed that that would be an appropriate thing to do so that people can get jobs and raise their family,” Parkhurst said.

In California, San Francisco prosecutors are in the process of throwing out thousands of pot-related convictions dating back to 1975 with no action necessary from those who were convicted.

Bailiff on administrative leave & suspect in custody after altercation at Scott County Courthouse

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A bailiff is on administrative leave after discharging his firearm while responding to a suspect with a blunt object in front of the Scott County Courthouse the morning of April 25th.

Two courthouse bailiffs and a Davenport police officer responded to a suspect causing a disturbance near the building's main entrance around 9:35 a.m.

As they approached the suspect, the situation escalated and the bailiffs discharged a firearm and a less lethal device.

A short foot chase ensued before the subject was taken into custody at W 6th St and Western Ave.

Both the subject and a bailiff were transported to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries and evaluation.

The bailiff who discharged the firearm is being placed on administrative leave, per policy, pending the results of the investigation.

The investigation is being turned over to the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) with the assistance of the Davenport Police Department. All further updates on the investigation will come from those agencies.

This is a developing story. WQAD will add more information as it becomes available.

Outdoor plans a go for the rest of the week into the weekend.

WQAD News -

Just some filtered sun we’ve been seeing throughout our skies.  Otherwise, temperatures have been looking nice with lower 60s… just cooler compared to past days but who’s complaining.  Come tonight, skies will become more clear and thus temperatures will dip a bit more with lows in the upper 30s.

Highs for your Thursday will get a slight bump upwards with temperatures in the upper 60s before a weak front slides through that night and cools off numbers by a few degrees on Friday.

That front won’t have much moisture to work with, so a few sprinkles are only expected that night.

As we head into the upcoming weekend nothing but mostly sunny skies as 60s for highs on Saturday will warm into the lower 70s on Sunday.

Warmest of the air is still on track for early next week with highs around 80 before showers and maybe a few thunderstorms make their appearance by the middle of next week.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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