The latest local news

2 elementary school students arrested for child porn over nude Snapchats

WQAD News -

SLIDELL, La. – Police arrested two Louisiana elementary school students  after they allegedly distributed nude photos to classmates using a social media app.

The Bonne Ecole Elementary students, a girl and a boy, were booked on charges of distribution of child pornography, according to the Slidell Police Department.

The female student allegedly used Snapchat to send nude pictures of herself to the male student, who allegedly sent them to other classmates.

“Most kids are not aware, but sending a nude photo of themselves is a crime,” Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said. “Parents need to have a candid conversation with their kids about the seriousness, and the long term effects, of taking and sending nude photographs.”

Both children have been released into the custody of their parents.

How Davenport Schools’ superintendent is looking to secure the district

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa --  Davenport's superintendent, Dr. Art Tate, is moving forward to get the funding he wants to beef up security within the school district.

Back in March, Dr. Tate created a proposal to hire additional personnel that's focused on security. 

The proposal included hiring the following positions:

  • 1 security and safety specialist
  • 1 coordinator of student participation
  • 1 mental health coordinator
  • 4 additional school resource officers
  • an undetermined amount of caseworkers
  • an undetermined amount of security guards

To hire these positions, Dr. Tate said he needed to use money from the district's reserve fund, which holds $25 million for emergencies.   But to access that money, he needs lawmakers to give him spending authority.

He said between March 29th and April 16th he sent five letters to Iowa lawmakers. He said his requests for spending authority were not denied, but that he got little response.

"I believe it's going to happen again," Dr. Tate said. "I'm talking about threat to an active shooter in a school, for example, its not just with guns, sometimes there are bomb threats. It's those sort of threats I'm looking to stop them before they get to our schools."

His next plan of action is to reach out to the School Budget Review Committee, which is a state-level review committee.  He would like to see if they would give him the authority to use reserve funds.

While he waits for funding, Dr. Tate said he would like to ramp up the number of drills they do each year from two to four.  He also said he created a group of five people that plan to meet every other week to identify threats and discuss action plans.

911 operator gets jail time for hanging up on callers: ‘Ain’t nobody got time for this’

WQAD News -

HOUSTON — If Creshenda Williams didn't have time then— she surely has plenty of time now.

Williams, the former 911 operator hung up on dozens of callers and first responders, has been sentenced to 18 months of probation with 10 days in jail.  A grand jury found the 44-year-old  guilty of interfering with emergency telephone calls — a misdemeanor offense — following a three-day trial that ended Wednesday.

The former 911 operator worked at the Houston Emergency Service Center for more than a year before being let go in 2016. During her time, prosecutors say Williams systematically hung up on residents who were trying to report emergencies.

Supervisors became suspicious after determining that thousands of incoming calls answered by Williams had a duration of less than 20 seconds. The recording database also keeps a report of who disconnects the call: the caller, the call-taker, or both. Records revealed that thousands of short calls were attributed to Williams hanging up.

Calls varied from reports of robberies and homicides, to reports of speeding vehicles. In a March 2016 recording, Williams hung up on a man attempting to report a robbery. When questioned about the short calls, Williams told investigators she often hung up because she did not want to talk to anyone at those times.

During one shift, investigators said Williams hung up on several people, including a security officer who was attempting to report a dangerous street racing incident.

The operator said "Houston 911, do you need medical, police or fire?"

The caller only had time to say "This is Officer Molten. I'm driving on 45 South right now and I am at ..." before Williams ended the call.

Although the call was disconnected, the recording captured Williams saying, "Ain't nobody got time for this. For Real."

“The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need,” Asst. District Attorney Lauren Reeder said.  “When a public servant betrays the community’s trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable.”

Augustana practices hostage scenario

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Augustana College worked with law enforcement to practice a hostage scenario.

The drill was held inside the Olin Center on Thursday, April 19th. It's something they do each year to improve their response to potential threats. This year's scenario was a professor who was holding students hostage inside a classroom.

As public safety guarded the building, students were directed to safety.

Meanwhile, campus leaders created a command center inside Founders Hall to practice disseminating information and creating a plan of action.

For the first time, this year they live streamed the situation from inside the classroom where the hostages were held. Leaders said it was good practice for potential live feeds that they may actually have to deal with.

Thirty students volunteered to take part in the drill.

Two Florida deputies killed in restaurant shooting

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Two deputies were killed at a restaurant in Florida by a shooter who fired through a window and was found dead outside the business, the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The deputies were at the Ace China restaurant in the small town of Trenton when they were shot around 3 p.m.

“At this point, it remains an active criminal investigation with no apparent motive or indications as to why this tragedy occurred,” the department said on Facebook.

According to the department’s website, there are 14 full-time deputies in the patrol division.

“My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues of the two @GCSOFlorida deputies (HEROES) who lost their lives in the line of duty today,” President Donald Trump tweeted.

Authorities said Sheriff Bobby Schultz would give a news conference Thursday evening. The sheriff has been speaking with the families affected, the department said.

Trenton, a town with 2,300 residents, is about 30 miles west of Gainesville.

Developing story — more to come

Sen. Duckworth casts vote with her baby on senate floor

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth made history on Thursday as she became the first senator to cast a vote on the Senate floor with her newborn by her side.

Senate lawmakers narrowly voted, 50 to 49, to confirm GOP Rep. James Bridenstine to be the next NASA administrator. Duckworth voted against Bridenstine.

“It feels great,” Duckworth told reporters as she entered the Capitol. “It is about time, huh?”

She also thanked colleagues for passing the rule change.

“I think it’s historic, I think it’s amazing,” Duckworth said.

When she was on the Senate floor, a group of senators including Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Claire McCaskill, Maria Cantwell and Jeff Flake, came to congratulate her and meet her baby.

At one point, Klobuchar looked emotional while she was grinning looking at Duckworth and her newborn baby. She is the top Democratic member of the Senate Rules Committee, who worked with Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri to change the longstanding rules to allow newborns — for the first time — onto the Senate floor during votes.

When Duckworth was leaving the chamber, the crowd of congressional reporters watching from the press seating cooed at her baby.

While it happened, Schumer turned to the reporters, put a hand to his mouth and said with a smile, “The press is finally interested in something worthwhile.”

The vote comes one day after the Senate changed longstanding rules to allow newborns onto the Senate floor during votes for the first time. The rule change, voted through by unanimous consent, was done to accommodate senators with newborn babies, allowing them now to be able to bring a child under 1-year-old onto the Senate floor and breastfeed them during votes.

Duckworth, who is taking her unofficial maternity leave in Washington, DC, spearheaded the push for the rule change. She gave birth to her second child, Maile, 10 days ago.

Earlier on Thursday, the lawmaker tweeted: “May have to vote today. Maile’s outfit is prepped. Made sure she has a jacket so she doesn’t violate the Senate floor dress code requiring blazers. Not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies but I think we’re ready.”

The social media post was accompanied by a photo of the potential outfit.

Duckworth’s dress code joke referred to Capitol Hill’s previous rule, which required women — reporters and lawmakers — to wear dresses and blouses with sleeves if they want to enter certain areas.

Speaker Paul Ryan announced last year he would change the dress code after a reporter was denied access to a room because she had on a sleeveless dress.

Ryan’s press secretary AshLee Strong tweeted a response to Duckworth on Thursday: “Senator, It took some drama but Maile and her sleeveless self are welcome on the House floor!”

Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani to join Trump legal team in Russia probe

WQAD News -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining the legal team defending President Donald Trump in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

That’s according to a statement from Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow. The addition of Giuliani adds an experienced litigator and former U.S. attorney in Manhattan. Trump has struggled to add lawyers to his legal team since the resignation of John Dowd last month.

The statement from Sekulow quotes Trump as saying, “Rudy is great” and saying that Giuliani wants to get “this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”

Giuliani will be joining a legal team that has been negotiating the terms of a possible Trump interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. Two other former federal prosecutors will also be joining Trump’s legal team.

Big tobacco pays Iowa $50.9 million dollars

WQAD News -

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa has received a $50.9 Million payment from tobacco companies, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Iowa.

It is part of a 1998 landmark settlement in which attorney generals of 45 states made a deal with the nation’s four largest tobacco companies to settle lawsuits to recover billions of dollars in state health care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses.

In the last 20 years, Iowa has received more than $1.2 billion in payments under the settlement. The state will continue to receive annual Master Settlement Agreement payments in perpetuity, based on the number of cigarettes sold in the United States.

About $11.2 million of this year’s payment – or 22 percent – will go to the state.

The 78 percent remainder will be used principally to pay bondholders who bought bonds issued by the Tobacco Settlement Authority.

According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General of Iowa, the settlement created restrictions on the advertising, marketing and promotion of cigarettes, including a ban on targeting children through advertising.  It also includes prohibitions on outdoor advertising of cigarettes and the advertising of cigarettes in public transit facilities, as well as the use of cigarette brand names on merchandise, and a host of other restrictions.

The central purpose of the agreement was to reduce smoking, particularly among youth.

Since it was announced, cigarette sales in the United States have fallen substantially. Adult smoking rates have fallen from 24 percent of the U.S. population in 1999 to 15 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers on Disease Control and Prevention.

Only 5.4 percent of teenagers in grades eight, 10 and 12 reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days in 2017, according to the Monitoring the Future survey.

Home on 12th Avenue struck by gunfire during early morning shooting

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois — Police are looking for information about a shooting incident on Tuesday, April 17 that resulted in a home on 12th Avenue being struck by gunfire.

The incident happened in the early morning hours of Tuesday, shortly after 2:30 a.m. when a witness reported that two cars may have been exchanging gunfire in the 1300 block of 12th Avenue. One vehicle was a red PT Cruiser and the second a black passenger car.

When police arrived, they recovered several 40 caliber casings from the north side of 12th Avenue. Two parked vehicles in the area were damaged along with property at a nearby house where police found damage to three windows, deck boards and the house siding. Four bullets penetrated  the home, damaging walls, a refrigerator and a television. There were no injuries reported.

Police ask anyone with information about the crime to call investigators at (309) 752-1547 or Crime Stoppers at (309) 762-9500. There is a cash reward if information provided leads to an arrest.

 

Poop train finally leaves Alabama town after stinking it up for two months

WQAD News -

The smelliest train in America has rolled out of Parrish, Ala., and the small town hopes it will never see its like again.

In what Mayor Heather Hall described as “wonderful news,” the train’s load of 10 million pounds of sewage sludge from New York and New Jersey has been transported to a private landfill site 25 miles away after stinking up the town for more than two months, NPR reports.

The 250 tractor-trailer loads of poop ended up in the Parrish rail yard after nearby West Jefferson sued to prevent the sludge from being handled locally. The sludge “smells of dead rotting animals as well as human waste” and caused the town to become infested with flies, West Jefferson’s legal action stated.

Parrish residents say the stench from the waste, which was parked near Little League ballfields, was inescapable and made life in the town of 982 people almost unbearable.

The mayor, who said the sludge smelled “like death,” plans to introduce zoning laws to prevent an encore. She says other small towns in the South are dealing with similar problems on a smaller scale.

“This material does not need to be in a populated area … period,” she said in a Facebook post. “It greatly diminishes the quality of life for those who live anywhere near it.” Parrish residents firmly agree.

“Would New York City like for us to send all our poop up there forever?” one resident tells the AP. “They don’t want to dump it in their rivers, but I think each state should take care of their own waste.”

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