Peoria school district buys stun guns for security officers

PEORIA, Illinois — Peoria Public School district has purchased stun guns for security officers, who have been trained and certified to use them.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports that until sweeping changes to Illinois state law take effect to allow the district to revive a campus police force with arrest powers and firearms, the district is arming school security officers with an alternative weapon — Tasers.

The weapons have been purchased and security officers have been trained and certified in their use, according to PPS Director of Safety Demario Boone. But Tasers won’t be distributed until the district purchases insurance and the school board approves a policy on when and how to use them.

The proposed policy includes details on issues including what to consider before using a stun gun, what makes use necessary, where to aim the stun gun and how use should be documented and reported.

Doug Shaw and Robert “Beto” Davison Aviles, the two board members who serve on the policy committee, agreed they want clarification on the length of annual training, how Tasers and their data are stored, and how they’re deployed.

“And help me understand how a pre-kindergarten person needs to be tased,” asked Davison Aviles.

Pre-kindergarten students were listed in the draft policy’s “special deployment considerations,” which lists groups of people who should not be tased unless there are no other options. The categories include students in pre-K to eighth grade, pregnant females, elderly individuals, people who are already restrained, and people whose position or activity may result in collateral injury, such as falls from height or an operating vehicle.

Illinois state law currently prohibits school security officers from carrying firearms in schools. Peoria schools Director of Safety Demario Boone says school security officers need an option. He says “they’re not armed, they’ve had knives pulled on them.”

In Iowa’s GOP agriculture heartland, tariffs spark Trump skepticism

HOSPERS, Iowa — In Sioux County, there’s a palpable sense of unease that new Chinese tariffs pushed by President Donald Trump — who received more than 80 percent of the vote here in 2016 — could threaten residents’ livelihood.

The grumbling hardly signals a looming leftward lurch in this dominantly Republican region in northwest Iowa. But after standing with Trump through the many trials of his first year, some Sioux County Trump voters say they would be willing to walk away from the president if the fallout from the tariffs causes a lasting downturn in the farm economy.

“I wouldn’t sit here today and say I will definitely support him again,” said 60-year-old hog farmer Marv Van Den Top. “This here could be a real negative for him.”

Last week, Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, a move aimed at punishing Beijing for stealing American technology. The Chinese government responded with a threat to tag U.S. products, including pork and aluminum, with an equal 25 percent charge.

That sent a chill through places like Sioux County, which ranks first among Iowa’s 99 counties in agricultural exports. In 2016, the county sold $350 million in meat, grain, machinery and chemicals overseas. Far closer to the sparsely populated crossroads of South Dakota and Minnesota than Iowa’s bustling Des Moines metro area, Sioux County is home to just 34,000 people, but more than 1 million hogs, 6 million chickens and nearly as impressive numbers of cattle and sheep.

Brad Te Grootenhuis sells about 25,000 hogs a year and could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the tariffs spark a backlash from China. He said it’s possible he would abandon Trump if pork’s price decline continues and lasts.

“Any time you’re losing money, nobody’s happy,” the 42-year-old farmer said. “I’ve got payments to make, plain and simple.”

Nationally, opinions on Trump’s tariffs, which were a central part of his campaign pledges to get tough on China, are mixed.

Although GOP congressional leaders have argued tariffs would prompt a trade war and have urged Trump to reverse course, 61 percent of Americans who identify as Republicans nationwide favor a tariff, according to a national poll taken this month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Still, 39 percent of Republicans say it will lead to a decrease in jobs, according to the poll, compared to 32 percent who think it will lead to an increase. That’s similar to the views of all voters, the survey shows.

Countermeasures by China, which is second only to Canada in importing Iowa products, could cause pain across the American agricultural sector, according to economists. For instance, a pork tariff imposed by China, which spent $42 million on Iowa pork products in 2017, would back up the Iowa market and force prices sharply downward.

“Retaliatory tariffs from China would have a devastating impact on U.S. agricultural exports, especially if they focus on products like soybeans and hogs,” said Adam Kamins, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “This puts northwest Iowa and the Great Plains more broadly on the front line in a trade war.”

For hog farmer Tim Schmidt, the fallout of a geopolitical spat with China would force him to hold off on any new construction or maintenance on the decades-old buildings on his family-run farm along the Missouri River.

“There is an uncertainty to exactly what the next two to three years are going to look like,” Schmidt said. A Trump voter in 2016, Schmidt said that if “things are bad and someone better comes along, we’re willing to take a look.”

Sioux County seed dealer Dave Heying echoed a common refrain that any downturn in the farm economy would curb spending throughout the local economy, with direct impact on farm machinery dealers, mechanics and agricultural construction, among other businesses.

“Protecting our U.S. industries is important, but my concern is, at what expense to the farmer?” Heying said of Trump’s trade moves. “It is too early to say whether or not I would support him. These types of decisions give you hesitation.”

As a presidential candidate, Trump was a somewhat awkward fit for Sioux County, where a third of its residents are members of the Dutch Reformed Church of America, which holds strictly conservative social positions. In striking contrast, the bombastic New Yorker has been married three times and shadowed by allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity.

Trump finished fourth in Sioux County in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucus, but carried 81.3 percent of the vote in the general election, his second-highest county share in the state. And a large core of voters in Sioux County, where Franklin Roosevelt was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win, remains with Trump, even if the farm economy suffers as a result of his trade policies.

“You have to have faith in our innovation and entrepreneurship in this country,” said Ed Westra, a grain cooperative manager and Trump devotee. “You’ve got to think of the big game.”

Chicago gun violence down for 13th straight month, but robberies in affluent areas up

CHICAGO, Illinois -- Chicago police say March ended as the 13th straight month to see a drop in gun violence.

There were 29 homicides during the month — 10 fewer than were reported in March of last year. And the department says there was a similar drop in the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims.

Homicides have dropped by about 17 percent this year, with 108 incidents compared to 140 during the same three-month period last year. Shooting victims have decreased by nearly 30 percent, from 687 to 486, according to the Chicago Tribune's shooting database.

Chicago Police say the drop in both homicides and shooting incidents that began early last year coincides with the expanded use of technology that helps police better identify areas where crimes might be committed and respond quicker to shooting incidents.

However, Chicago crime data also shows increased robberies in more affluent areas of the city that tend to attract lots of tourists.

City crime numbers indicate that the downtown area known as the Loop saw 86 robbery reports during nearly the first three months of this year, the Chicago Tribune reported . That figure is the highest for that time period in at least 15 years. The area saw 49 robbery reports during that time last year.

The Loop represents an area surrounded by the Chicago Transit Authority's elevated train lines and is home to some of the city's most notable restaurants, bars and hotels. The area includes the Chicago Theatre and Willis Tower, two popular spots for tourists.

Other areas near the Loop have also seen robbery spikes, such as the Near North Side and Lincoln Park.

"Dedicated teams" of officers are responding to the robbery spike, said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Officers are monitoring potential suspects traveling through the areas by CTA trains, he said.

People must stay vigilant and watch for thieves, many of whom are juveniles, Johnson said. Juveniles make up about 40 percent of robbery suspects arrested this year, he said.

"They're opportunists," he said. "They go to areas where they think people aren't paying attention. We have a generation of people glued to their cellphones."

Despite the spike in downtown robberies, theft declined across the city overall by 14 percent, from almost 2,500 last year to about 2,100, according to police statistics through March 25.

The Take a Stand Club announced as Three Degree recipient for April

The Take a Stand Club has been selected as the April recipient of the Three Degree Guarantee sponsored by Eriksen Chevrolet in Milan, IL.

For each day of the month that the actual temperature is within three degrees of the forecasted high temperature, the Take a Stand Club will receive $20 from Eriksen Chevrolet.

Each night, Storm Team 8 will predict the next day’s high temperature. The forecasted temperatures are compared to the actual temperatures recorded by the National Weather Service.

The Take a Stand Club is an anti-bullying group of students that are recognized at Lombard Middle School as people you can go to for help if you are struggling with school, peers, home or anything that a student may be dealing with. Along with being a support group for students they also perform acts of kindness around the school and bring to light other student’s kind acts.

If you would like to learn more about The Take a Stand Club, please click here.

If your charity or organization would like to be considered for the Three Degree Guarantee, please click here.

14th Street and I-74 lane closures in Bettendorf begin

BETTENDORF, Iowa — As part of the reconstruction of the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge, the Iowa Department of Transportation is continuing roadway and interchange improvements in Bettendorf. An important part of the project includes repairing 14th Street and constructing a new entrance ramp from Grant Street/U.S. 67 to westbound Interstate 74. Beginning the week of April 2 through the end of the summer, 14th Street will be reduced to one lane between Grant Street and the westbound I-74 on-ramp in Bettendorf to accommodate this work. Beginning the week of April 2, there will also be shoulder closures and intermittent nighttime lane closures on I-74 between Grant Street and Middle Road to facilitate installation of storm sewers in the median just north of Grant Street to Middle Road. This work will take place through late 2018. There will also be intermittent nighttime lane width restrictions on the westbound I-74 on-ramp at Middle Road for widening. The work is anticipated to be complete by the end of the summer.

Road closings in Moline due to construction starting today

MOLINE, Illinois -- Starting Monday, April 2nd, 19th St. in Moline will be closed from 12th Ave. to Avenue of the Cities. The closure will last through the rest of the 2018 construction season.

This is the road that runs parallel to I-74, on the east side from 12th Avenue to the Avenue of the Cities.

The on-ramp to I-74 Iowa bound, from Avenue of the Cities, remains open.

In addition, the Illinois-bound River Drive exit off the I-74 bridge will be closed starting Wednesday, April 4, through early May. Drivers will be detoured to the 7th Avenue exit to northbound 19th Street to get back on River Drive.

Foot of snow possible for parts of the Midwest; some snow for us

Yes, it's April 2 and a new area of low pressure will bring more wintry weather to the Midwest. This coming on the heels of an Easter storm that brought 2-5 inches of snow across Missouri and Illinois.

The #2 storm system will move from Kansas to Michigan, bringing rain to the Quad City area. However, up to a foot of snow is possible for southern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin through early Wednesday morning.

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Our opportunity for snow comes Tuesday evening as cold air wraps around the area of low pressure. An inch or two will be possible for areas north of the Quad Cities. Any shift in the forecast track could bring that snowfall closer to our metro area and any additional cold air could increase the forecast amounts. So stay tuned!

We remain quite winter-like as we go through the rest of the week. We won’t get much above freezing Wednesday and Friday with a cold, north wind.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Your Money with Mark: The recent stock market volatility

MOLINE- Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski joins us every Monday on Good Morning Quad Cities, and on April 2, he discussed the continued volatility of the stock market.

The conversation followed up what he discussed Monday, March 26, after there was a heavy decline in the stock market the week before. Grywacheski discussed why there's volatility, how long it will take place, and whether investors should be worried.

Your Money With Mark airs live on Good Morning Quad Cities every Monday between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. To live stream our newscast from our website, click here.

One injured after Davenport shooting

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Police say one man was shot Monday, April 2, near 11th Street and Pershing Avenue around 2:10 a.m.

Police say the victim has been taken to the hospital. The extent of his injuries are unknown right now.

No arrests have been made. Police are still searching for suspects.

This is a developing story. We will update with more information as it becomes available.

Family and friends mourn the loss of a young mother after shooting in Galesburg

GALESBURG, ILLINOIS-- Flowers now lay at the site where Jenni McGruder spent her last moments alive.

On Easter Sunday, Galesburg Police responded to a shots fired call outside Seminary Street Pub around 1:30 a.m.

When officers arrived they found 26-year-old Jenni McGruder with a single gunshot wound. She was later pronounced dead at the scene by Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas.

Close family and friends say Jenni was a mother with a big heart and  infectious smile. She was out celebrating her 26th birthday when the shooting occurred.

"She’s so outgoing and so cheerful about life, she just wanted to enjoy life and this happening to her... it’s just shocking," said close family member, Joanna Dixon.

Family meant everything to Jenni, she now leaves behind a husband and two children. Dixon says Jenni was well known among many members in the Galesburg community and that she will be dearly missed.

"She was a wonderful person she knew everyone around here…and that beautiful smile she had the most beautiful smile," remembered Dixon.

Jenni's last post on Facebook shared her gratitude for her family and friends. Part of it read:

"The older I get the more I value my life my family and my friends...I want to say thank you to all those near and far who wished me a happy birthday...I have love for you all."

Jenni was also part of a local organization called Walk For Baby Feet, which was started by her older sister – Jamie Dunker. She nominated Dunker for the Jefferson Awards, which is a program that recognizes unsung heroes in our community who are doing great things for others. WQAD News 8 is a Media Partner of the Jefferson Awards and shared the sisters’ story just two months ago.

Jamie said her sister Jenni was the true hero to her. She told News 8 the family has set up a memorial fund at the F&M bank to help support Jenni's two children.

Galesburg Police are continuing to investigate this incident and her family members are searching for answers.

"All I`m asking for this community is to find the guy that did this and stop this gun killing. You don`t know what it`s like until it`s your family and so young of age just stop all this," said Dixon.

Anyone with information is asked to call Galesburg Police Detective Kevin Legate at (309) 345-3765, Galesburg Area Crime Stoppers at (309) 344-0044 or you can text “GALESBURG” then the tip to 274637.




White Sox game postponed due to cold, snow

(WGN) KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It’s another day of rest for the White Sox.

Sunday’s series finale against the Royals has been postponed due to looming winter weather. Local forecasts called for temperatures in the 20s and 30s with snow showers.

The game will be made up Saturday, April 28th at 1:15pm as part of a day-night doubleheader.

With a 2-0 record under their belt, the Sox head to Toronto for a three-game set Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before coming home for the opener on Thursday against the Tigers.

BREAKING NEWS: Galesburg Woman Dead After Easter Morning Shooting

A young woman and mother is dead after a early Easter morning shooting in Galesburg.

Galesburg Police said it happened just after 1:30am at Seminary Street Pub on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

According to a post on the Galesburg, IL Police Department Facebook Page, officers responded to a shots fired call and found 26-year-old Jenni McGruder with a single gunshot wound. She was later pronounced dead at the scene by Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas.

You can see the post here.

Galesburg Police are continuing to investigate this incident. If you have any information, you’re asked to call Galesburg Police Detective Kevin Legate at (309) 345-3765, Galesburg Area Crime Stoppers at (309) 344-0044 or you can text “GALESBURG” then the tip to 274637.

McGruder was part of a local organization called Walk For Baby Feet, which was started by her older sister – Jamie Dunker. McGruder nominated Dunker for the Jefferson Awards, which is a program that recognizes unsung heroes in our community who are doing great things for others. WQAD News 8 is a Media Partner of the Jefferson Awards and shared the sisters’ story just two months ago.

You can see the story here.

This is a developing story on WQAD News 8. Refresh for updates.

Comic Book Show Raises Money For Children With Heart Defects

MOLINE, Illinois-- Dozens of comic book fans got together for a chance to geek out this weekend at the Quad Cities Comic Con.

The free comic book show was held at the Hampton Inn in Moline on Saturday afternoon. Organizers say the event brought out all types of fans. Vendors sold hundreds of comic books it featured video games, toys, and posters.

"It just shows that this area is rabid for pop culture comic books anime and that kind of thing..it's great that this community supports this whole genre," said event coordinator, John Wells.

The show was organized by the Helping Hannah's Heart Foundation an organization that helps raise money for families with children who deal with heart defects.

Organizers say plans are in the works for future shows, one in Dubuque on September 29th and Davenport on November 10th.






Coats and sweaters will be needed for our Easter Sunday

Hopefully the wind didn’t knock you around too much this afternoon! Thankfully, the winds will begin to die down late tonight into Sunday morning. However, we’re on track for a very chilly night with lows in the low 20s. Wind chills may even dip into the single digits for some of us early Sunday morning.

It’s not looking much warmer for our Easter Sunday. While the wind will be calmer, highs will only manage to reach the mid 30s. Most of us will see a mostly cloudy sky, but a little snow can’t be ruled out south of Highway 34 during the afternoon and evening.

We’ll warm up into the mid 40s on Monday, but showers will return by Monday evening. More widespread rain is expected by Tuesday with highs stay in the mid 40s.

Meteorologist Taylor Graham

Winning ticket for Mega Millions jackpot sold in New Jersey

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A winning ticket for a giant lottery jackpot estimated at $521 million has been sold in New Jersey

Mega Millions says one winning ticket was sold in Friday night’s drawing. The winning numbers were 11, 28, 31, 46, 59 and Mega Ball 1. No additional details on where the ticket was sold were available Saturday.

It’s the nation’s 10th-largest lottery jackpot. No one has matched all six numbers drawn since January.

The $521 million figure refers to the annuity option, in which payments are made over 29 years. The cash option would pay $317 million.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.