The latest local news

Mystery smell leads to emergency response at steel plant

WQAD News -

BETTERNDORF, Iowa -- The area surrounding Sivyer Steel this afternoon was filled with emergency crews from several departments but the situation looked worse than it actually was, according to a Sivyer Steel official.

A release from the company stated a supervisor detected an odor in the plant, which was determined to be coming from a smoldering fiber barrel containing a powder used in the steel casting-making process. The entire manufacturing facility was evacuated and Bettendorf Police and Fire departments were called as a precaution.

The barrel was isolated and workers were able to return to the building.

There were no injuries reported.

Pennsylvania father accused of selling heroin from baby daughter’s maternity ward

WQAD News -

GREENSBURG, Pa. – Police arrested a 25-year-old man for selling heroin from a room in the same hospital where his newborn child was staying, according to WPMT.

Cody Hulse, of Latrobe, was visiting his baby at Excela Westmoreland Hospital Thursday when he was arrested, police say.

Hulse was allegedly dealing the narcotic inside the maternity ward where his baby daughter was being cared for, according to WPVI.

He allegedly admitted to selling heroin and was found to be in possession of 34 baggies of suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia when police took him into custody, according to a post on the Greensburg Police Department’s Facebook page.

Hulse’s girlfriend told police she had no idea the alleged drug dealing was happening, according to WPVI.

New dad accused of selling heroin from room in maternity ward the day his baby was born! Cody Hulse arraigned today, hear from him tonight! pic.twitter.com/dt3Zz15poi

— Melanie Marsalko (@WPXIMelanie) October 20, 2017

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Pumpkin Treats For Your Halloween Party

WQAD News -

It's hard to believe, but Halloween is less than two weeks away! So for the next two weeks, our weekly Nailed It Or Failed It segment is going to focus on some creative ways you can celebrate.

First up, let's talk pumpkins. I found a dessert and a drink you can make with just a few simple ingredients that will be a hit at your upcoming Halloween party.

The dessert is these Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats from the blog, Cincy Shopper. Find out how to make them by clicking the video above.

The drink is a version of Pumpkin Juice, made famous from the Harry Potter books. I found this recipe on a blog called Favorite Family Recipes. You can make this for kids or you can add a special ingredient (see video below) to turn this juice into a cocktail:

NEXT WEEK on Nailed It Or Failed It - two creative ways to make your house the best on the block when it comes to Trick or Treating!

3-month-old and 5-year-old girls rescued in sex trafficking crackdown

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Two sisters, one 5 years old and the other 3 months old, were rescued in Denver by undercover agents during this year’s FBI-led sting operation against sex traffickers, officials said.

The alleged trafficker, a friend of the children’s family, made a deal to sell them for sex for $600, the FBI said. The friend communicated with an undercover agent, the FBI said in announcing details of Operation Cross Country XI.

While this alleged crime alone is disturbing, 82 other juveniles were rescued during last week’s nationwide sweep. Some 120 people were arrested.

Despite the arrest numbers, the work is far from over.

“Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested — and the number of children recovered — reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

For these young children, life may never return to the way it was before. Holly Gibbs, a child sex trafficking survivor and the patient care director of Dignity Health, said, “Human trafficking is a global public health crisis. What happened to these children is a tragedy, and they have a long journey ahead of them. But for the moment, I am glad that they are safe.”

Average age of victims is 15

On October 13, the second day of the operation, a minor was rescued by the FBI in El Paso, Texas, when a 16-year-old female victim was advertised online for “entertainment,” officials said.

The girl was accompanied by a 21-year-old female who offered an undercover agent sexual intercourse with both her and the underage victim for $200, officials said. According to the FBI report, the woman as well as the driver, another female, who took the minor and 21-year-old to the undercover officer’s location, were arrested.

Among the recovered victims across the country was one from Russia. Local and state agencies were involved in the operation, as were police as far away as the Philippines and Thailand.

The average age of the victims recovered from this year’s operation is 15, the FBI said. Sellers tried to pimp them to outsiders from hotels, truck stops or online.

Sometimes, sex trafficking can involve family members or family friends.

Bradley Myles, CEO of the Polaris Project, which launched a human trafficking hotline, says traffickers often prey on those with trauma in their childhood history. And, he said, there often are problems down the road.

“There are ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, and the more ACEs that someone has the higher likelihood that they’ll experience other forms of trauma and abuse in life,” said Myles, who was not involved in the operation but said he hopes the children are given the resources they need to someday recover.

Focusing on the victims

At a press conference in Denver on Thursday, District Attorney George Brauchler reminded traffickers that undercover agents and task force officers are always lurking, be it behind cameras, on the Internet or in a casino, prepared to make another bust.

“To those out there who are watching this who might avail themselves at the opportunity to exploit children or to engage in even the adult sex trade, this is a bit of a warning. … The people that you can’t see behind those cameras, they are fins. They are fins in the water and they represent sharks who are there all the time.”

“And my advice to you is to stay out of those waters where the kids are, to stay out of those waters where exploited adults are for sex, because they are out there and they will get you. And when they get you, my office will handle the rest.”

The FBI continues to work with agencies and organization specializing in child protective services for the 84 rescued children.

There are still thousands of children locked in shackles as chess pieces in a game of sex slavery, and without consistent efforts, Myles said he doesn’t think it will end

“We are seeing about an average of 23 cases a day. So we need that daily drumbeat of a 24-hour response throughout the country,” he said. “Operation Cross Country doesn’t happen every day. But these cases are breaking across our country every day.”

Another elderly woman throws ‘lucky’ coins into plane engine, grounding flight

WQAD News -

ANQUING, China – For the second time this year, an elderly passenger grounded an airplane in China by tossing coins into the engine for good luck before the flight, according to an Agence France Presse report.

On Wednesday, authorities detained a 76-year-old woman – who was already flying with Lucky Air – after she apparently threw a several coins into the aircraft for good measure.

The flight was scheduled to take off Wednesday from an airport in the city of Anqing, in Eastern China, but was held overnight after the ground crew reported finding coins scattered on the tarmac next to the plane.

The passengers reportedly left the next morning for Kunming, in southwestern China.

In late June, a similar incident occurred. Police detained an 80-year-old woman after fellow passengers reported that she was throwing coins at the plane during boarding of China Southern Airlines flight CZ380 on the tarmac of Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.

“The passenger, surnamed Qiu, who has no prior criminal record or mental health issues, claimed she tossed coins as a prayer for a safe flight,” Shanghai Police said in a statement.

It added that officers found nine coins at the scene, including one that fell into the engine of the Airbus A320 aircraft, with others scattered on the ground nearby.

CNN contributed to this report.

Rainfall on track for the later half of the weekend… Brief chill next week, too

WQAD News -

What a fabulous stretch of weather we’ve seen this week!!  In fact, these Friday night football games this season have enjoyed some of the finest weather in years!!  And tonight will be no different as you can see with the temperatures above.  Fair to partly cloudy skies will be in order tonight with overnight lows only dropping in the upper 50s.

Clouds will be increasing in coverage through Saturday as a front moves in from the west.  Winds will remain persistent out of the south allowing temperatures to warm well into the 70s.  I’m still looking at the rainfall to arrive Saturday night before ending sometime mid-morning on Sunday.  Temperatures will be more seasonal for Sunday with highs in the lower 60s.

Low to mid 60s will be common on Monday before a stronger front rushes in on Tuesday sending highs plummeting into the low to mid 50s.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Mom accused of hitting teacher in face with brick after student’s phone confiscated

WQAD News -

PITTSBURGH -- A Pittsburgh woman is accused of hitting her daughter's teacher with a brick after she confiscating the girl's cellphone.

According to KDKA, teacher Janice Watkins confiscated a fourth-grade student's phone on Wednesday because the district has a "no cellphone" policy. While taking the phone, the girl allegedly bit the teacher, prompting to school to call her mother, Dai'Shonta Williams,  to the school.

During a meeting between the three, the child claimed Watkins had choked her, at which point Williams got mad and allegedly told the teacher she was “going to get even.”

Investigators say Watkins was driving home after work when she noticed two people get out of their vehicle.

The woman approached Watkins’ car and allegedly threw a brick through her open driver’s side window -- hitting her in the head. After she was hit, she says the woman opened her door, dragged her out into the road and began punching and kicking her.

On Thursday, Williams was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count each of terroristic threats, stalking and reckless endangerment.

FBI assisting in Niger investigation

WQAD News -

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(CNN) — The FBI is assisting Niger authorities in the investigation of the deaths of four US servicemen, a law enforcement official tells CNN, a routine step for the bureau when US citizens are killed overseas.

Another US official said FBI investigators are on the ground in Niger providing technical assistance and helping to gather and evaluate evidence related to the attack.

The investigators are based out of US embassies in nearby African countries, the official said, and reiterates the FBI role in Niger is not unprecedented, as the bureau often lends its expertise into terror investigations abroad.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the FBI’s involvement.

What we know and don’t know about the deadly Niger attack

Three senior US officials have told CNN that Defense Secretary James Mattis wants answers regarding the ambush on October 4. The investigation will be an effort “to get all the facts correct,” an administration official familiar with the review has told CNN.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Mattis did not provide additional details into why the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was recovered nearly 48 hours after his 12-member team was ambushed by 50 ISIS fighters in Niger.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders was asked Wednesday whether President Donald Trump was satisfied with the information he has received about the mission and ambush.

“I believe they’re still looking into the details of that,” Sanders replied. “But I don’t think that the President can ever be satisfied when there’s loss of life from men and women in uniform.”

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