The latest local news

Local boy refuses to let cerebral palsy slow him down under the Friday night lights

WQAD News -

BIGGSVILLE, Illinois-- There's something about those Friday night lights that makes people stand out. It's no different for Brian Vallero.

"I started reffing when I was 18-years-old," says now 22-year-old Vallero.

Every call he makes gets noticed.

There's another thing about Brian that makes him stand out a little more than the rest. Brian has a condition that makes moving certain muscles difficult, Cerebral Palsy.

He doesn't remember a time he didn't battle his disease.

"I had a stroke before I was born in the second trimester that affected the right side of my body," says Vallero.

He also doesn't remember a time he ever let CP define what he can do.

"There's some things you'll notice compared to the other refs that I do a little bit different," says Vallero.

"It isn't anything to worry about because he just does his job, and you just know he's going to be there," says the head of Brian's ref crew Jason Danner.

Sometimes being in the spotlight adds pressure.

"More than anything, it's a mind game. You have to be determined, and you have to say, you know what? Might look a little different out there, but I'm still doing it, and I'm not going to let this little thing stop me," says Vallero.

Not only does Brian manage his condition, he's beating it.

"The way the doctors explain it is just use your hand and leg as much as you possibly can," says Vallero. "My hand used to always be closed at all times, and now I can grip things and do stuff like that."

Even under the bright lights, it's something you might not even notice. This fan didn't.

"It just blows my mind, they go out there and do their job, and you can't even tell they have it. It's a good deal," says football fan Dalton Brokaw.

It's how Brian officiates his life. It's how Brian strives to be better. That's what makes him a standout who can teach us all a thing or two about the game we call life.

"Anything you do, it's worth giving your all. If you're going to go out there and do something, and you're only going to do it halfway, what's the real point in doing it?" says Vallero.

Brian is studying business management at Western Illinois University.

He is also working on getting his pilot license. After school, his goal is to become a pilot like his dad.

Moline man sentenced to 121 months in prison for receiving child pornography

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A U.S. District Judge sentenced a Moline man to prison on Thursday, October 19, for receiving child pornography.

William Tyler Burrows, 33, was sentenced to 121 months after pleading guilty in May of this year to receiving three child pornography videos over the internet between July 11 and August 18 of 2015.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Secret Service and the Moline Police Department.

How a man exonerated after 24 years behind bars is using his freedom to help others

WQAD News -

KANSAS CITY, Missouri-- Darryl Burton spent 24 years in prison for a murder in St. Louis that he didn't commit.

When he got out, he had nothing: no money, no job offer, and no one to help him out.

"I couldn't believe it even when I got outside the prison," Burton said. "I just couldn't believe it. It was an unreal, abnormal feeling."

That was the start of Burton's journey in freedom. When he got out, he says the only thing he did have was God. He got a masters of divinity degree at St. Paul's School of Theology, and started working as an associate pastor at Church of the Resurrection.

Now, Burton says he's getting requests from all over the country for help in other wrongful conviction cases.

"I mean I've gotten calls, I've gotten texts, emails, Facebook requests," Burton recalls. "You know, 'Help my brother, help my husband, help my boyfriend.'"

He adds, "It's a tragedy all the way around: for the victims, for the wrongfully accused. No one wins in these situations. It's double tragedy."

Burton chooses to view his nine years behind bars as a blessing because he says it led him to the path he's on today. He says he knows there are many other innocent people still in prison, and he'll continue to fight for their freedom every day.

Father’s dying wish to walk daughters down the aisle comes true

WQAD News -

MILLERSBURG, Ohio - As Willie Shelton fought terminal cancer, his wife says he always had the same wish.

"The one constant was always, 'I want to see my girls grow up, and I want to walk them down the aisle,'" Cheryl Shelton told WJW.

With seven daughters, the family realized it was unlikely the U.S. Army veteran would be able to accomplish that, so they came up with a plan to make his dream a reality. The Sheltons have a large, blended family that includes adopted daughters and children from a previous marriage.

With last-minute help from hospice, David's Bridal, Taylor Elchert Photography, a local hair studio and others, the plan came together in just days.

"We had this idea we put together in three days," said Cheryl. "We got all the wedding gowns for the girls and hospice helped us out a great deal with some of the planning."

"What girl doesn't want to get in a wedding dress and her hair and makeup done? So I was all in but more so for the reasoning behind it," said daughter Candice Talbot.

The plan was kept a secret from Willie who was asked only to give away Emily Flinn, the only one of his daughters who was already married, so she could renew her vows.

"We got maried at a courthouse so there wasn't the formality to it where he could actually give me away," said Flinn.

"He had no clue that this was going on and everybody got dressed, so I said, 'she is going to have all the girls be the bridesmaids and everything for her;' little did he know that they were all going to be brides," said Cheryl.

"Actually, it was my sister, Candice, that texted me and said, 'hey, you need to pick out a wedding dress and give me your measurements because we are going to pick one out for you; you are going to walk down the aisle on Saturday," said Jennifer Talbot.

Three days later, with Willie in his dress uniform in a backyard ceremony, each of his daughters came out of the house, one at a time, all in wedding gowns.

"He looked a little confused , and then it was just great to see everybody," said Flinn.

In a father-daughter ceremony performed by Millersburg Christian Church Pastor Wes McElravy, the girls got to see the gleam in their father's eye they would expect to see at their actual wedding.

"This was very touching for him and it was a dream that we could fulfill to the best or the closest we could possibly do," said Cheryl.

And Willie was helped out of his wheelchair to stand with his daughters and experience his greatest wish.

"I always assumed that my dad would be there to walk me down the aisle and when the possibility was there that he wasn't going to be able to -- this was everything," said Lindsey Shelton.

Less than two weeks after the ceremony, on Monday, October 16, Willie Shelton passed away.

The girls will each now also have something of their own to keep for their actual weddings.

All seven will have a locket in which they will have a photo of their father with them in a wedding dress, and the words, "a father's love never ends," engraved on the back.

"Even though part of the dream was fulfilled last week, when they get married, the rest of it will be because he will still be with them," said Cheryl.

Through their loss, the family says it is only fitting that they honor the life and the memory of Willie.

"He was the happiest person, the most giving person, and this was our chance to give him something," said Jennifer.​

Kindergartner empties piggy bank to pay for classmates’ milk

WQAD News -

ISHPEMING, Mich. — A 5-year-old Michigan girl has made it her goal to make sure all of her classmates get milk, even if their parents can’t afford it.

Two weeks ago, Sunshine Oelfke emptied out her piggy bank onto the living room floor and began “counting” her money.

Her grandmother, Jackie Sue Oelfke, posted pictures of the beautiful moment on Facebook.

She wrote, in part, “After a few minutes, I see her bag up some of it and I asked her what she was doing with the baggy of money. Her response put me in tears…’I am going to give it to my friend at school because she don’t get milk for snack. Her mom don’t have any milk money and I do.'”

CBS News reported that half of the 20 students in Sunshine’s class do not get milk, which costs $0.45 for a carton. For every child to have a milk during snack time, it would add up to $180 per month.

So Jackie started a GoFundMe page to help her granddaughter raise milk money.

“Sunshine would like for all of her friends in her Kindergarten class to have milk for snack break every day with her,” the page reads. “She went started to count the money in her snowmobile bank and friends mom doesn’t have milk money but I do so her mission to help her friend began.”

As of Thursday morning, the GoFundMe has raised more than $9,600 — nearly $5,000 over its initial goal.

Lulu the dog flunks out of CIA bomb-sniffer school

WQAD News -

Government agencies routinely make hiring and firing announcements, but a recent one from the CIA caught Gizmodo‘s eye.

A Twitter thread revealed the agency has laid off Lulu, a recruit in its K9 training program tasked with detecting explosives. Lulu, described in her CIA profile as being a “hyper and silly” black Lab with an “easygoing sweetness,” started “to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors” not long after she started training.

The agency explains that dogs in this program often have an off day (or two), but that trainers can often figure out what’s wrong—maybe the pup just needs extra playtime or rest, or there’s a minor medical issue—and help the dog bounce back.

But for Lulu, it wasn’t temporary. “Even when motivated w food & play, she was clearly no longer enjoying herself,” the agency tweeted, noting they stopped Lulu’s training for her physical and mental health.

Lulu wasn’t interested in searching for explosives.
Even when motivated w food & play, she was clearly no longer enjoying herself.

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

But if Lulu was suffering from existential ennui on the job, she’s apparently not now. A post on the CIA site explains that when a canine leaves the K9 training program, the dog’s handler can choose to adopt the pup. And that’s exactly what happened in the case of Lulu, who now appears to be living her best life frolicking with her handler’s children, “sniffing out rabbits and squirrels in the backyard,” and whiling away the hours with “Harry,” who appears to be another black Lab.

HuffPost notes the happiness that Lulu’s reboot is bringing to people online, with one commenter noting: “This thread is the best thing I’ve seen on Twitter in forever.” Interested in the CIA’s other dog trainees? The agency has an entire section on this year’s recruits (the agency’s first all-female class), which features their bios and details how they’re selected for the coveted K9 jobs.

Lulu is no longer training, but was adopted by her handler & currently living her best life in retirement.

— CIA (@CIA) October 19, 2017

This article originally appeared on Newser: Bomb-Sniffing Dog Hates CIA Job, Opts for Early Retirement

More From Newser:

Officials decide on a candy-less Halloween parade in Dubuque

WQAD News -

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Halloween parade-goers in Dubuque may notice something is missing this year - the candy.

City leaders, police, and YMCA organizers made the decision that throwing or handing out candy would not be allowed this year due to safety concerns.

Police say they've seen kids run out in the street to gather candy, almost being hit by floats or cars.

Barricades or caution tape to keep kids out of the street were considered but it was ultimately decided that would be too expensive.


Moline Police looking for bar burglar targeting video gaming machines

WQAD News -

MOLINE -- Police are looking for the man behind a string of burglaries at Moline bars and taverns.

On Thursday, October 19, officers were called to Bottoms Up on Seventh for a break-in. Around 2:30 a.m., surveillance video captured a man forcing his way into the empty bar and taking the money from four video gaming machines.

The burglar appears to wear gloves and pants, and he used a shirt to cover his face, leaving only a small strip of skin exposed.

"He dressed like a white mummy, yeah," said bar owner John Winterbottom.

Detectives believe the burglar knew exactly what he was doing, and he's likely responsible for other break-ins where video gaming machines were targeted.

"This guy's been hitting several businesses and taverns in Moline over the last three or four years, and we'd love the community's assistance in capturing him," said Det. Michael Griffin. "Somebody's going to know what this guy is doing. You're going to know when he shows up in the morning and has a couple extra thousand dollars that is unaccounted for, there's no reason he should have it."

Police said the gaming machines were emptied, but they could not confirm how much money was taken.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Moline Police Department or Crimestoppers.

Judge moves trial for man charged in slaying of Iowa teen

WQAD News -

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — The trial for one of two men charged with killing a gender non-conforming teenager will be moved from Mount Pleasant to Keokuk.

District Judge Mary Ann Brown said Thursday she's changing the venue for Jorge Sanders-Galvez as a "proactive step" to confront implicit racial bias.

Brown says data indicates that South Lee County will likely produce a more diverse jury pool than Henry County.

Sanders-Galvez is set to stand trial Tuesday in the March 2016 slaying of Burlington High School student Kedarie Johnson, who alternated between male and female personas. Another man is also charged but will stand trial separately.

Sanders-Galvez is Latino and black. His defense asked to move the trial out of Henry County, where only 11 out of 2,100 potential jurors in the last four years identified as either race.

QC International Airport sees drop in passengers

WQAD News -

MOLINE-- The Quad City International Airport board members are seeing a drop in passengers flying out from the area.

Several things have caused the numbers to drop, including airfare prices, losing Airtran, and people choosing to fly out of Chicago.

"It's all fare driven at the end of the day, it was down to what a person pays for airfare," says Bruce Carter, Director of Aviation.

During a meeting on October 19th, QCIA board members discussed ways to keep people flying out of the Quad Cities.

"We want to work with the airlines to have them study whether or not they can do some type of fare reduction in comparison with Chicago," says Carter.

A 2010 study shows that 19% of Quad City Area residents chose to fly out of Chicago. In 2017, that number increased to 31%.

Along with that, the airport has seen a drop of 150,000  passengers since the exit of Airtran in 2010.

Airport officials also say they are looking to make upgrades from a 50 seat airplane to a 70 seat airplane with first class sections.

At the boards next meeting they will continue to come up with strategies to implement for the next 5 to 10 years.






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