The latest local news

Haz-mat teams called out to chemical plant fire near Orion

WQAD News -

ORION, Illinois -- Plumes of black smoke and visible flame could be seen for miles around the Helena Chemical plant outside of Orion on Wednesday, April 18 as multiple area fire departments and hazardous materials teams responded to a fire that broke out around noon.

Firefighters on the scene said the public is in no danger at this time, but police have shut down portions of U.S. 150 around North 1300 Avenue. The location of the fire and road closure is south of Orion.

Fire departments responding in addition to Orion's include: Coal Valley, Hampton, Silvis, Colona, Osco and Sherrard.

There were no reported injuries as the result of the fire.


Wintry mix ending later this evening… Spring temperatures in sight

WQAD News -

The wintry mix of weather of rain and snow around the Quad Cities and points north will slowly come to an end later this evening as the system pulls off to the east.   Accumulations up to 3 inches will be seen as you approach the Wisconsin/Illinois border.  Farther west of that toward Waterloo, IA expect amounts to be a few inches higher.  Commuters this evening beware.  Slick roads in spots will be likely, so give plenty of space between you and the driver in front of you.

Skies will slowly improve before sunrise as temperatures dip just below the freezing mark of 32 degrees.

Sunshine is back on Thursday, and with less wind highs will be approaching the 50 degree mark.  Warmer 50s will take over to start the weekend with the mercury still on track to top around the 60 degree mark on Sunday.

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

Win a Makeover from The Acri Company

WQAD News -

Does your home need a makeover?  Click here to enter to win!

Here is your chance!  The Acri Company will select one lucky winner to receive their choice of free siding, windows or bath system.

Everyone who enters receives a coupon for $500 off the purchase of siding, windows or a bath system from the Acri Company.

The Acri Company began satisfying customers in 1967. The main office was in the basement of the founder, Chuck Acri’s, home. In 1976 The Acri Company moved into it’s current location in Milan, IL (See picture above)

Today The Acri Company has 20 sales brokers in a 3 state area in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Our knowledgeable sales staff can help you with a variety of different home improvement products including:

– Replacement Windows
– Roofing
– Sun Rooms / Four Season Rooms
– Decks
– Bathroom / Kitchen Remodeling Projects
– Laminate Wood Flooring
– Exterior Entry and Patio Door Systems

Just click the link  to enter to win.

For complete rules, click here.

Dick’s Sporting Goods to destroy all guns pulled from shelves

WQAD News -

PITTSBURGH — Dick’s Sporting Goods will be destroying all the guns and accessories that it stopped selling in late February.

In a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this month, a company spokeswoman said they are “in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories” associated with the policy change.

The retail giant will be destroying the assault-style rifles at the company’s distribution centers and the remaining parts will be sent to a salvage company to be recycled.

Dick’s first announced on Feb. 28 that it will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. It also said it will raise the minimum age for all gun sales to 21.

The move didn’t come without backlash as the company faces two lawsuits over the age limit requirement.

A 20-year-old in Oregon and an 18-year-old in Michigan are suing for discrimination.

Extremely rare Colt firearm sets sales record for Rock Island Auction Company

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — An extremely rare 19th century revolver drew a new record auction price earlier this month when it fetched $1.84 million during a Rock Island Auction Company sale on April 13-15.

RIAC president Kevin Hogan called the Colt Model 1847 “Walker” a “holy grail” item in gun collection circles. It is believed less than 100 were ever produced for the civilian market and the one sold this month here in the Quad Cities is the only known example in its original case.

“This is a major milestone in the collecting community,” said Hogan. “Not only is this a world record for a singe firearm at auction, but further demonstration that the art and history of in firearms is really catching fire. We value so strongly the aesthetics, history, and craftsmanship of painting, fine automobiles and watches, but firearms that possess those same traits remain remarkably undervalued.”

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This isn’t the first record sale for Rock Island Auction Company. In 2016, the company sold a Winchester rifle with historic ties to Native American warrior Geronimo and has sold other significant items like Teddy Roosevelt’s golden hunting knife and an M1 Garand rifle once owned by John F. Kennedy.

There were some other interesting items in this past auction as well, including a firearm owned by a Danish sea captain and another gun that was buried to avoid detection by Nazis. You can read about those items here.

Win Tickets to see Jim Gaffigan at the TaxSlayer Center

WQAD News -

Three-time Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five, Jim Gaffigan brings The Fixer Upper Tour to the TaxSlayer Center.

Known around the world for his unique brand of humor, Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up comedy tour largely revolves around fatherhood and Jim’s observations on life. Don’t miss a night full of laughter with Jim Gaffigan on August 15th at the TaxSlayer Center.

Tickets go on sale April 20th.  For ticket information, visit click here.

You could win tickets to the show.  One winner will be selected to receive two tickets to the show.  One entry per person.  Deadline for entry is Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

For complete contest rules, click here.

Cat walks 12 miles to get home to family – then they ask shelter to euthanize him

WQAD News -

RALEIGH, N.C. — A little orange and white cat who was rejected by his family twice has found a happy ending after all.

The SPCA of Wake County shared his story on Facebook earlier this month, and it broke hearts all over the country.

According to their post, Toby’s family decided they no longer wanted him, so they gave him to another family. But, the post says, Toby missed them and walked 12 miles back home.

When he got there, the family took him to a shelter to be euthanized.

Luckily, the shelter contacted the SPCA of Wake County, who took him in and helped him find a new family.

They announced on Monday that he now lives with a cat sibling and two children.


Midland Elementary principal parodies “Ice Ice Baby” to announce snow day

WQAD News -

MIDLAND, Iowa — When Midland Elementary School principal Angie Watters-Ruley had to announce a snow day as far late into spring as April 18, she thought there was no better way than to rap about it in a parody of Vanilla Ice’s classic “Ice, Ice, Baby” she called “Springter.” Her Facebook video is going viral because it pokes fun at the bizarre nature of seasons in the midwest.

4-year-old Pennsylvania boy summoned for jury duty

WQAD News -

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania 4-year-old received a summons for jury duty but unfortunately can't go because "he has preschool that day."

"He's always been a very serious child, but I didn't think he was quite ready for that kind of a thing, there,” Damien Shrader's mom Desiree told WNEP.

It showed up this week in Damien's great-grandmother's mailbox, ordering the preschooler to show up at the Luzerne County Courthouse.

When asked if he understood the summons, Damien sweetly shook his head no.

Damien's own mom has never been summoned for jury duty, and Damien has only ever gotten one other letter in the mail: it was from Santa.

"I was curious to know how they got his information and decided that he needed to come and make some kind of decisions here,” said Desiree Shrader.

Damien's parents went to the Luzerne County Courthouse Tuesday and explained the situation.

There were a few laughs and the little boy was granted a formal excuse, although the court administrator told Newswatch 16 he is certain sure Damien would make "a fantastic juror" in 15 years or so.

"They formally excused him because he has preschool that day. We also tried to make sure they don't request his two-year-old brother come either. We'd prefer to have them wait a little while for jury duty,” laughed Desiree Shrader.

The court administrator believes Damien’s name and information were mistakenly added to a list of potential jurors from tax documents his great-grandmother filed after buying him stocks.

Crash involving schoolbus in north LeClaire

WQAD News -

LECLAIRE, Iowa — An SUV crashed into the back of a stopped schoolbus as it was picking up students at 238th St. and Great River Rd. in LeClaire around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18th.

There were three students on the bus at the time, but no one was hurt.

The SUV sustained significant damage while the bus had a dent.

The students were transferred to a different bus and taken to school.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

IRS gives taxpayers extra day to file due to website glitch

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Taxpayers, you’re getting an extra day.

Wednesday is the new deadline to file and pay taxes after the Internal Revenue Service spent hours dealing with technical difficulties on Tuesday.

The service that taxpayers use to file online was partly down throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon.

“A number of IRS systems are unavailable at the moment,” Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said at a Congressional hearing Tuesday morning. “We are working to resolve this issue and taxpayers should continue to file their returns as they normally would.”

The agency said Tuesday evening that its systems were back online, and that taxpayers would now have until midnight on Wednesday, April 18, to file and pay their taxes.

“This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers,” Kautter said in a statement. “The IRS appreciates everyone’s patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation.”

Related: Tax-filing tips: 8 tax mistakes to avoid

Kautter told members of Congress the problems appeared to be related to the “transmission” of tax returns from software providers like H&R Block and TurboTax, which is owned by Intuit.

Intuit said that despite the outage, it continued to process tax returns for its customers.

“Taxpayers should continue to prepare and file their taxes as normal with TurboTax,” a company spokeswoman said. “For those that prepared and filed their taxes with TurboTax earlier today, TurboTax is now submitting those returns to the IRS and is currently processing newly filed returns as normal.”

Related: It’s tax day, and you’re scrambling. What’s the penalty for filing taxes late?

H&R Block had similar advice for taxpayers earlier in the day.

“While the IRS system is down, we are completing the returns, which will be sent as soon as the IRS system re-opens and will be considered filed on time,” the company said in a statement. “We are encouraging tax payers to continue to use our retail services or our do-it-yourself products as they normally would.”

Previously, Tuesday was the last day for taxpayers to file their tax returns, unless they filed for an automatic six-month extension. But an extension to file is not an extension to pay. Filers were also rushing to pay any additional money they owed to Uncle Sam for 2017.


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