The latest local news

Here’s a look at the aftermath of today’s weather

WQAD News -

QUAD CITY AREA, Iowa and Illinois – Heavy thunderstorms hit the Quad Cities and the surrounding areas today. Check out some of these photos taken by our viewers.

Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment

Winds reached gusts up to 60 mph, and 1.53 inches of rain fell in Moline, which ties the record set for this date in 2014.

Severe weather was concentrated mostly south of Rock Island and Moline.

A severe thunderstorm warning went into effect for Putnam, Knox, Bureau, and Henry Counties, and a brief tornado warning lasted from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. in Knox County.

Assumption grad shows his moves on ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT-- At some point in life, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. Ray Thrapp got his taste of fame on ABC's Live with Kelly and Ryan.

"It was weird because Ryan had the best smelling cologne I've ever smelled in my life. It was kind of weird," says Thrapp.

The Davenport native went to New York City for a graduation gift. He recently graduated from Assumption High School. He was in the audience during Live with Kelly and Ryan, and he was pulled from the audience for a dance competition.

"They had people in the crowd who applauded to see who won, and I won," says Thrapp.

Thrapp was rushed back stage to get ready for his first ever live performance.

Kelly Rippa and Ryan Secrest hosted the show while the football player danced, repping his Assumption Knight's football shirt for the whole world to see.

KELLY RIPPA AND RYAN SECREST HOSTED THE SHOW... WHILE THE FOORBALL PLAYER DANCED...

"I was just making up random stuff right there. I had no idea what I was doing," says Thrapp.

With pep in his step, Thrapp is dancing his way towards the future.

"When I'm in college, I'll probably look back on that and show my friends. I think it will be kind of cool," says Thrapp.

In just a few short weeks, he's leaving home to head to Coe College in Cedar Rapids. He will be studying accounting there.

Veteran WQAD newswoman Chris Minor leaving after 33 years

WQAD News -

MOLINE- Veteran reporter Chris Minor is announcing she is leaving WQAD after 33 years with the station. Minor made the official announcement on WQAD's 5pm news tonight.

The award-winning journalist is known for her investigative reporting, memorable story-telling, exclusive interviews, coverage of many of the Quad Cities most notorious crimes and subsequent trials, and penchant for giving a voice to people in need of help.

Minor, a Park Ridge, Illinois native, says she will be leaving WQAD at the end of July , and hopes viewers will tune in for a look back at some of her most memorable and favorite stories.

Here's a note from Chris:

"I came here in a U-Haul with my mom and dad 33 years ago, with the intent to stay two years, and move on. But, the Quad Cities became my home.

I love being a journalist. It was my calling in life, and I am so lucky I was fortunate enough to  make a living at it. I love the hunt for a great story. I love the art of the interview. I love writing to video and the entire creative process. And, I love illuminating what's right and exposing what's wrong.

I could never had stayed in one place for so long if it wasn't both fun and challenging.  The constant has been the quality of my co-workers. There is a culture here at WQAD. We don't take kindly to egomaniacs. We hire real people. Kind people. Team players. There have been a few exceptions, but not many.

Hanging up my microphone is going to be a challenge. My profession is such a huge part of me, in some ways, it defines me. I'm the NEWS LADY. You tell me that all the time in the grocery store, or when I'm out and about. Generations now, have called me the NEWS LADY.

But, I need a break. I want to explore life outside of a newsroom and investigate my own meaning and place in this world, and write new chapters about my own life. Before, it's too late.

In March, my beloved nephew Ryan died. Suddenly. Without warning. He was 12- years- old,  and an amazing child. He was such a bright light, and I loved that boy with all my heart. Our whole family did. I was pondering the possibility of retirement before Ry, but losing him has just reinforced how precious and un-predictable this wonderful gift called life, is. And, quite frankly, right now, some stories that I would have to report, seem a bit insignificant in the scheme of things.

I went to my bosses about a month ago, and told them about my plans. My news director Alan Baker, and General Manager Jim Kizer, have been fantastic to me. My assignment manager, Joe Casillas, is  like a brother to me.  I have worked with some losers as bosses over the last three decades, and these three are true winners.

My co-workers, so many are like family to me, and  I will miss them so much. Particularly our incredibly talented photographers now and over the years, who have shared thousands of hours in the trenches with me,  from flood-fighting to chasing storms and bad guys. We will always share an unbreakable and precious bond.

And, the biggest thank you, is to the viewers. You have shared many of your stories with me. I am grateful and honored. Some of you bared your souls, and bravely broke new ground by talking with me. You encouraged me to keep digging. To find the truth. To do more. To be better.  And, you watched. And what good is a story without anyone seeing it?

This week, I am going on vacation with my sweet, handsome, fabulous husband Marv Hubbell who is my partner in crime in this retirement thing, and then get to return to WQAD for two weeks in July. Then, we are going to take a look back at some of my favorite stories and moments at WQAD the week of July 23rd, and I really hope you join me. I chose that week, because I started July 24th, 1985. My very first live shot was at the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Fest that weekend. Try being nervous and pronouncing that with music blaring and moths blowing in your mouth.

I will give you more details about the date and time for our special retrospective. There will be happy tears, but lots of laughs.

And finally, thank you to my mom and dad, Wally and Eleanor Minor. They brought me into this world, paid for my college, inspired me to do what I love, and are still my number one fans today. Thanks for the U-Haul, mom and dad. It's been an amazing ride."

WQAD News Director Alan Baker said Minor is a one-of-a-kind journalist who set a standard for reporting few will be ever to reach.

"She would become a role model, mentor and friend to many," Baker said. "And 33 years later she is still as eager and determined as she was on her first day.  We have definitely been a better station because of her."

 

 

 

Local organizations acting to stop family separation at the border

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF, Iowa-- Mari Bribriesco was devastated to find out that children were being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"They've been subjected to this cruelty," the Deputy State Director for the Leagues of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Iowa said. "They're going to be emotionally scarred forever."

Bribriesco said she's usually an optimist, but that optimism waivered when she tried to think about what she could do to change the Trump administration's policy. But she knew she couldn't just stand by.

"If you feel hopeless and you feel like nothing you do matters, nothing will change," she said.

So she's organizing some rallies, joining hundreds from across the country in protesting the zero-tolerance policy.

LULAC is joining forces with Progressive Action for the Common Good and Quad City Interfaith, among other organizations. There's a rally planned in Rock Island on June 30, although all the details haven't been finalized. Another is in the works for the Iowa side of the river.

Bribriesco said she wants Iowa's congressional representatives to take notice and actually do something to stop the current situation.

"We need to have people be reminded on a daily basis that this is wrong," she said. "We want the world to see that the Quad Cities is composed of caring, compassionate people."

Mary’s on 2nd to reopen after SUV crashed through front door

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The tavern, Mary's on 2nd has been closed since early April 2018, when a stolen SUV crashed through the front of the building.

Since then, construction was underway repairing the structural damage that was done.

Two months after the incident, Mary's owner Bobby Stansberry said he planned to reopen in mid-July, if everything went according to plan.

Mary's on 2nd has been around for nearly two decades, and sits just a couple blocks west of the Centennial Bridge.

News 8 at 11 visits Sunset Lakes Resort

WQAD News -

Sunset Lakes in Hillsdale, IL offers both overnight and seasonal camping at their 130 acre family camping resort.   Sunset Lakes just added ten brand new cottages for those who don’t have their own RV.

This modern resort offers free amenities to all of our guests which include a brand new mini golf course, new jumping pillow and paddle boats along with tons of other fun such as volleyball, tennis, pickle ball, three playgrounds and a huge swimming pool.

Weekend activities include games and crafts for all ages.  From kickball games to edible crafts, trivia, bands and even fireworks!  Santa even visits us during Christmas in July!

Seasonal sites are pretty much turn key!  We handle all the minor lawn care, our rent gives your immediate family free access to all of our amenities!  Rent now and enjoy the summer, you never have to move off the site.  Even in the winter time store your camper on your site at no extra cost!

Now besides weekly hay rack rides during the busy season, I hear that you have a haunted house?

October is a huge month for Sunset Lakes.  The weather perfect for camping.  Enjoy hayrack rides and a haunted house that we can put about 500 to 600 people through in just a couple of hours.  This year our Halloween Weekends are October 13th & 20th.

For more information call, 888-460-1197 or visit our website: www.SunsetLakesResort.com.

Taylor Ridge farmer brings home concerns over international tariffs

WQAD News -

TAYLOR RIDGE, Illinois -

Soybean prices are dropping to its lowest level in years.  That's prompting a warning that this trade war will hurt the agriculture economy.

Green rows of soybeans line Phil Fuhr's farm in Taylor Ridge, Illinois.  But this sixth generation operation must worry about the color of money.

China tariffs are driving down his crop prices.

"Nobody knows what to do," he said, on Tuesday, June 19.  "They've never seen a scenario like this before.  We're in a full-fledged trade war."

Soybean growers like Fuhr warn that a 25% tariff will cost them millions.

"It's going to be painful," he continued.

They're calling on the White House to rescind the tariffs and encourage strong international trade relationships.

"We've got two major super powers in the world butting heads, and agriculture in America is going to be the pawn," he continued.

Fuhr's 2018 soybean crop is off to a good start.  But as prices drop to the lowest levels in years, he warns that tariffs will drive China to competing countries.

"It's going to trickle down," he said.  "Every ag business is going to feel the fallout from that."

Farmers are calling for certainty, stability and legislation to manage risk and navigate market swings.

It's especially important because Illinois and Iowa are the top two soybean-producing states in the United States.

"Any type of dispute that will interrupt that trade is going to affect our bottom line," he concluded.

Big win in court for female truckers in sexual harassment case against Iowa trucking company

WQAD News -

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — In a win for female truck drivers — who have been sounding the alarm about sexual harassment in their industry long before #MeToo — an Iowa judge allowed for the unsealing of documents tied to a class-action sexual harassment lawsuit filed by over 100 women truckers.

The documents could show how Cedar Rapids-based CRST, one of America’s largest trucking companies, mishandled numerous sexual harassment claims by its female employees.

The plaintiffs allege that male truckers regularly engage in “sexually offensive conduct” toward female drivers, including requiring sex as a condition of passing driver training, sexually assaulting female drivers, threatening rape or violence, and intentionally touching and exposing their genitalia.

If the women refuse, “retaliatory measures could include, but were not limited to, making false reports of their misconduct, threatening them with weapons, physical harm, kicking them off trucks, spreading rumors that they are prostitutes, preventing them from contacting CRST for assistance, and refusing to assist them with work-related tasks.”

The lawsuit also alleges that at CRST, female employees who file complaints about male truckers face a broken system of accountability that often grants impunity to their abusers.

Cathy Sellars, one of the plaintiffs, describes repeated harassment throughout her employment at CRST. It started aboard her first truck with her first trainer, who she says masturbated in front of her the first night they traveled together. He asked if she wanted to “join him.” Sellars says she declined and retreated to her bunk. The next night, after they shut down, he came into the sleeper berth and began pulling her shirt off. She struggled away and again fled to her bunk.

The following day, she called dispatch, complaining to a fleet manager, who she says told her he’d known the driver for a long time “and didn’t think he would do anything like that.” A human resources representative, she says, told her that it was “her word against his,” even though they hadn’t yet talked to the other driver.

Another plaintiff, Claudia Lopez, worked at CRST from May 2014 to January 2015. During that time, Lopez reported that she woke up to find her male co-driver lying naked on top of her. He also asked her to shower with him, before ultimately abandoning her near Miami. After she contacted human resources, the company failed to investigate, the complaint said.

Truck driving remains an industry that is 95 percent male, leaving women drivers vulnerable. But it also regularly faces a severe shortage of drivers due to extremely high turnover rate of 90 percent. Ironically, the industry has been actively recruiting women drivers to make up for the shortage.

“Just as it protects women who work in offices, Title VII applies with equal force in traditionally male-dominated fields,” said Giselle Schuetz, a lawyer for the women truck drivers. “Women make many sacrifices to obtain job training in a new field in hopes of improving their lives and better supporting their families. They should not be required to endure sexual assaults, harassment, and humiliation in order to drive a truck.”

Iowa wrestler hospitalized after being shot in the knee

WQAD News -

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa All-American wrestler Sam Stoll has been hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries after he was accidentally shot in the knee.

Iowa City police said say they responded to a report of a gunshot victim who showed up at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday. A preliminary investigation found he was shot by mistake in a residence and that several other people were present.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing. Iowa athletics officials were gathering information on the incident.

This past season, Stoll went 25-6 and placed fifth at the NCAA Championships. He is 54-14 overall with one year of eligibility remaining.

VA pathologist fired for being ‘impaired’, nearly 20,000 veterans may be at risk

WQAD News -

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Officials with the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced an investigation Monday after a pathologist was found to be "impaired" and misdiagnosed patients, resulting in at least one death.

Dr. Skye McDougall, the Network Director and CEO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, made the announcement on Monday.

"I want to apologize to all veterans for what we're going to disclose today," said McDougall. "What we're going to talk about today is a very serious and, I believe, very tragic situation with tragic outcomes for our veterans."

Related: Iowa City VA doctor fired after botched brain surgery that contributed to death of Davenport man

She then introduced Dr. Kelvin L. Parks, the interim director for the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville, to explain what happened.

According to Parks, a Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks pathologist was found to be "impaired" on March 22, 2016. The pathologist was immediately removed from clinical care. The pathologist had no previous disciplinary actions and was "deemed an excellent candidate of the impaired physician program."

Parks said he could not comment on the nature of the impairment, because it was still under investigation. He also said he couldn't comment on whether the pathologist had been arrested or would face criminal charges.

After what Parks called "successful completion of the program" and implementation of a monitoring program, the pathologist was reinstated on Oct. 12, 2016, Parks said.

One year later, on Oct. 13, 2017, he was suspended again on reports of possible impairment. Another investigation determined the pathologist was deemed "unsafe to work" and was removed and subsequently fired, Parks said.

Parks said the pathologist saw 19,794 patients. Letters are being sent out to all of them, or to their family members. The hospital is responsible for 53,000 patients each year, he said. Of the more than 19,000 patients involved, 5,250 have died since 2005, and those deaths are under review.  He said they did not know if any of the deaths were related to the pathologist's review.

Parks said they had seven cases of misdiagnosis by the pathologist so far based on internal reviews.  One of those cases may have resulted in the recent death of a local veteran, according to Parks.

"We have already notified five of those that have been affected, and the remaining two will be notified by tomorrow," Parks said.

The VA is now reviewing all cases related to the pathologist, he said. The reviews are being conducted by independent reviewers, Parks said.

He said letters are being sent out to all patients and/or family members whose cases were read by the pathologist to let them know about the process. The VA would then follow up by phone or by letter once the second review is complete.

A procedure was already in place to address any issues that arise with patients impacted, including ways to track second reviews and tests and protocols to notify affected patients.

"If errors are found that affect the patient's current treatment plan, the VA will reach out immediately to those affected," Parks said.

He said the VA has already strengthened internal controls to ensure any errors are more quickly notified and addressed.

"Patient safety is a top priority," Parks said, adding that he was also a patient at the hospital.

"This is my hospital," he said, becoming emotional. "And I'm truly sorry, and saddened, and disgusted... and to our veterans, and to our family members, we will continue this investigation and ensure that those who are involved be held accountable."

Parks said the process would take several months to complete.

Parks then introduced Dr. Margie Scott, medical center director of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and chairwoman of the review team, who explained the review process.

"We will be doing a complete 100 percent review of all cases that were interpreted and diagnosed by this impaired provider," she said. "We will be going from October of 2018 back to October of 2005. This will take a significant amount of time -- several months."

She said more than 900 cases had already been reviewed, with the seven misdiagnosed cases being found. Of those, one of the patients had died, and an investigation was underway to determine how much of an impact that misdiagnosis had on the patient's condition and death.

She said there were up to 30 pathologists who are "willing, ready and able to assist" in the review. She said it's the goal for at least half of the case reviews to be performed by pathologists outside of the VA.

She said cases will be prioritized by level of risk, and every veteran who is affected should have a letter from the VA within the next several days.

"As soon as any additional misdiagnosis is identified, the patient, the veteran or the veteran's family will be immediately notified," Scott said.

Westerman said a veteran in his district died as a result of the pathologist's actions.

Several federal officials were on-hand for the announcement, including U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, Congressman Bruce Westerman, representatives from U.S. Rep. French Hill's office and U.S. Attorney Duane Kees of the Western District of Arkansas. Steven Young, deputy undersecretary for Health for Operations and management at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. John Areno, acting chief medical officer for Veterans Integrated Surface Network 16 also attended, as well as McDougall and Parks.

Boozman praised the hospital and its volunteers before addressing today's announcement.

"Sadly, today, we have a tragic situation, and it truly is a tragedy, in the sense that we have failed," Boozman said. "The congressional delegation is united in this, we're going to do all that we can, certainly any service that we can provide to take care of the veterans that potentially have been impaired."

"I appreciate the forthrightness of the VA in coming forth," Boozman said.

He said they would not only help veterans but also hold accountable "those who need to be held accountable." He said they would work to ensure problems like this don't happen again in the future.

Westerman said the delegation was briefed by the Inspector General and the Veterans Administration last Thursday in Washington, D.C.

"This is a colossal failure of the system, not necessarily because the system in itself is flawed," Westerman said. "Even with proper procedures in place, systems fail and can lead to the most undesirable results."

"Unfortunately, according to our briefing, we already know a family in my district lost a loved one because of an improper diagnosis, and there are many more cases yet to be evaluated," Westerman said.

Womack said the larger issue is that proper information is given to the affected veterans, and he said there were thousands of veterans who could be affected dating back to 2005 when the pathologist came to work for the VHO.

"We are not going to rest and we are not going to relent until we see each and every case reviewed and the proper actions taken," Womack said.

Parks said the hospital is currently working to recruit a new pathologist, and they have hired a fee-basis provider to work in the interim and maintain care for the veterans.

Boozman, Womack, Westerman and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford later released a joint written statement Monday regarding the pathologist.

“This alleged gross negligence by a physician charged with caring for our veterans is a disturbing revelation and a clear failure to uphold the Department of Veterans Affairs mission to the men and women who served our nation in uniform. The errors and reckless actions of this former VA pathologist put the health of our veterans at risk and will not be tolerated.

“Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t know the extent of this doctor’s misconduct. We call on the VA to notify patients whose cases were evaluated by this pathologist to thoroughly and expeditiously review their results so veterans can get the appropriate care they earned. Those impacted deserve nothing less.

“Congress has provided the VA with the tools to remove bad actors. Failing to dismiss physicians and any other employees whose work is unsatisfactory does a disservice to our veterans. We are committed to rigorous oversight to protect the men and women who sacrificed and served our country and will hold those who break the law and undermine the mission of the VA accountable.”

Parks provided two phone numbers for those with or wanting more information. Those numbers were 1 (866) 388-5428 and locally (479) 582-7995 locally. The hours for the call center are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon.

Rural Illinois power plant has one of the highest tax bills in America

WQAD News -

BYRON, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — A plot of land in rural northern Illinois has the highest property tax bill in the United States outside of New York.

Assessed at $546 million, Exelon’s Byron Nuclear Generating Station was charged $36.5 million in property taxes in 2017. That’s a higher tab than all but 20 properties in the nation, all of which are in New York. The Byron plant’s bill put it at No. 21 on a list of the nation’s top 100 property tax bills, right ahead of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The Willis Tower came in 28th ($31,742,883), ahead of Woodfield Mall (No. 64, $19,603,461) in Schaumburg and Chicago’s One Prudential Plaza (No. 77, $17,910,028) and Water Tower Place (No. 79, $17,677,503). The highest property tax bill in the U.S. was for Northport Power Station ($82,093,239) in Fort Salonga, New York. The data was compiled by Commercial Café, a division of property management software provider Yardi.

Closer to the Quad Cities, the Exelon Quad Cities Station nuclear plant has a property tax agreement with Rock Island County calling for it to pay a total of $87.4 million over 7 years, or an average of around $12.5 million per year, according to Exelon communications manager Brandy Donaldson. Exelon will pay $13.5 million the first three years of the agreement; $12.5 the following year; and $11.5 million the remaining three years of the agreement.

When New York’s sky-high assessments were removed from the list, Illinois’ property tax bills accounted for half of the top 30 highest bills.

“The highest-paying office buildings are all in Chicago,” Commercial Cafe spokeswoman Adel Dobriban. “Three of the five top taxed industrial properties are in Illinois.”

In assessing commercial property like a power plant, output roughly equals assessed value. Newer power plants are given a higher assessment based on how long they’re expected to operate. Seventeen U.S. nuclear plants, however, were built in the same year or later than Byron. None but Byron’s have a property tax bill on Commercial Cafe’s Top 100 list.

This is because the local school district, Byron Community School District 226, brings its own assessor to evaluate the plant’s value and the district’s subsequent cut of the taxes.

“Exelon has been litigating the property tax assessments for Byron Station since the 2012 assessment, and anticipates receiving a ruling from the Property Tax Appeal Board sometime this year,” Exelon spokesman Paul Dempsey said.

While Dempsey said the Chicago-based corporation is committed to paying its fair share of property taxes, he said Exelon is “of the opinion that the more than $36 million in property taxes it pays each year for Byron Station is far in excess of its fair share based on a reasonable assessment of value.”

Of that total tax bill, $18.6 million goes to Byron School District 226, whose annual $30 million budget dwarfs its neighboring districts.

Oregon District 220, for instance, has an annual budget of $15 million. It serves 53 fewer students than the Byron district.

Teachers and administrators in Byron School District 226 have higher average wages than their peers statewide. The average pay for administrators in District 226 was $112,000 in 2017, $6,000 higher than the state average of $106,000. The average salary for Byron School District 226 teachers was $73,000 in 2017, $9,000 more than the state average.

With a 17-to-1 student-teacher ratio, Byron School District 226 was close to the state average in 2017. The district had an administrator-to-student ratio of 167:1 compared with the statewide average of 190:1. Officials with the school district did not respond to requests for comment.

The Byron nuclear plant pays property taxes to 11 separate taxing bodies.

Other power plant school districts have numbers similar to the Byron plant. Reed-Custer, which gets property tax revenue from Exelon’s Braidwood plant, spent $28 million on roughly 1,500 students in the 2016-17 school year.

Byron started operations in 1985, employs 860 people and supplies power to more than 2 million homes. The plant’s two reactors are licensed to operate until 2044 and 2046, respectively.

Exelon got a boost from the state in 2016, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law subsidies worth billions of dollars in gradual money and tax credits to help the corporation keep two other plants from closing prematurely.

More shower and thunderstorm chances ahead

WQAD News -

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be a daily occurrence across the area as we go through the rest of the week.  Fortunately, each day that goes by will allow temperatures to cool off even more.

Expect a couple of showers and storms tonight as overnight lows drop around the mid 60s.

I see another wave of activity Wednesday morning before we dry out for the rest of that day.  However, an area of low pressure will increase our coverage of showers and drenching thunderstorms once again starting Thursday morning and continue into Friday.  The last of the raindrops will be ending by Friday night.  During this period, daytime highs will not even get out of the 70s!  Rainfall estimates still look pretty consistent as amounts are expected between 1 to 4 inches.

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

American CEOs call out Trump’s ‘heartless, cruel’ border policy

WQAD News -

(CNN Money) — CEOs have started to speak against the separation of children from their families at the US border.

“Separating a child from a mother or father is not political. It is inhumane,” Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said in a statement on Tuesday. “I join people in Upstate New York, in Idaho and across the country in calling for children and parents to be brought and kept together, regardless of which side of the border they are on.”

AirBnB co-founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk said “the US government needs to stop this injustice.”

“Ripping children from the arms of their parents is heartless, cruel, immoral and counter to the American values of belonging,” they added.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Irish Times that the practice is “inhumane” and “heartbreaking.” Apple did not immediately respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment on Cook’s position on the immigration practice.

Some companies have made more muted statements against the administration’s approach.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg both donated to a fundraiser raising money for The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, a nonprofit that offers legal aid to immigrant families in Texas. Facebook did not yet make an official statement.

Related: $4,000 a minute pours in to help reunite separated immigrant families

Microsoft issued a statement on Monday after it was criticized for working with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the group that is enforcing the policy. “We urge the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families,” Microsoft said. ICE uses Microsoft’s cloud software Azul.

On Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “I hope the kids are ok.” After a user asked him to “make a more powerful statement,” he said “if there is some way for me to help these kids, I will do so.”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein touched upon the crisis in a speech at the Economic Club of New York Tuesday. Amid a broader discussion about global economic risks, he referenced the “horrible tragic situation” on the Southern US border, which he called a “tragedy.”

Nicholas Peters, senior vice president of CommCore Consulting Group, said that companies have to be careful when commenting on such a fraught issue as immigration. “I think they’re waiting a little bit to see how this plays out,” he said.

“When you’re dealing with an extremely emotional and potentially toxic subject,” he continued, “companies have to be really careful.”

Related: Former top federal prosecutors call on Sessions to end ‘zero tolerance’ at border

The Department of Homeland Security said on Friday that the government has separated at least 2,000 children from parents at the border after the Trump administration put a new “zero tolerance” policy into place. The administration is charging every adult caught crossing the border illegally with federal crimes, as opposed to referring those with children mainly to immigration courts, as previous administrations did.

Images of distraught families and audio of weeping children captured by ProPublica has prompted a public outcry against the new approach. A bipartisan group of more than 70 former US attorneys are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse the policy.

-— CNN’s Tal Kopin and Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

Florida man chugs beer after being pulled over for reckless driving

WQAD News -

BIG COPPITT KEY, Fla. -- A Florida man is in jail after allegedly chugging down a beer after being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.

48-year-old Daryl Royal Riedel led police on a chase on June 14th that ended with him getting out of his pickup truck holding a beer and gulping it down in front of the deputy that pulled him over, according to WPLG-10.

Deputy Lopez was in pursuit of Riedel and used his car's PA system to order him to stop. In response, Riedel waved his hand out the open window “as if to disregard my order,” according to Lopez.

Riedel told the deputy that he had fled out of fear, the Monroe County Sheriff’s office reported

Riedel was jailed Thursday evening without bond. He is currently facing three felony charges for DUI, fleeing and eluding officers and driving with a suspended license, as well as two misdemeanor charges for reckless driving and refusal to submit a DUI test.

Recent court records do not list a lawyer for him.

Two firefighters accused of making pornographic videos at Ohio fire station

WQAD News -

AKRON, Ohio - The City of Akron says two fire lieutenants have been placed on leave amid allegations that they made pornographic videos together at a fire station in the city.

The videos were allegedly posted on porn websites, according to WJW.

The suspended firefighters have been identified as Lt. Art Dean and Provisional Lt. Deann Eller.

The following is a joint statement from Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron Fire Chief Clarence Tucker:

"Allegations involving two City of Akron firefighters recently came to the attention of the City. The allegations relate to the creation of pornographic content displayed online – some of which is alleged to have taken place on City property. The City is actively conducting an investigation into the allegations, and we will take prompt and appropriate action based on the results of that investigation. The two employees were immediately placed on administrative leave pursuant to their union agreement, pending the investigation. The employees involved are not assigned to work at the same fire station and were known to be in a long-term relationship.

As leaders of this City and this Department, we find these allegations shocking and distressing to say the least. The Akron Fire Department is composed of hundreds of committed first responders who comport themselves with dignity, professionalism, and the highest levels of integrity and dedication in their service to the Akron public. These courageous public servants put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the health, safety, and property of Akron citizens and serve as role models of duty and service across our community. These allegations bring unwelcome dishonor and embarrassment to Akron Fire Department and the City of Akron and unfairly discredit the reputation of other Akron Fire officers.

As Mayor and Fire Chief, we take our responsibility to uphold the public trust extremely seriously, and will never condone or tolerate any behavior that violates that trust. These allegations in no way reflect on the values of the Akron Fire Department or the City, and we are devastated that these allegations would distract from the meaningful and important work being done to keep our citizens safe and keep our neighborhoods strong.

Additional information will be provided to the Akron public when the investigation has concluded and appropriate action is taken. We thank you for your patience as we conclude the investigation and provide due process for these employees."

Americans are satisfied with Trump’s North Korea summit

WQAD News -

Watch Video

(CNN) — One week after the high-profile meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Americans are generally satisfied with what was accomplished in the summit between the leaders, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS that was released on Tuesday.

Just over half — 52% — were satisfied with how the meeting went, with 36% saying they were dissatisfied. Eighty-five percent of Republicans were happy after the summit, with 52% of independents, and 28% of Democrats saying the same.

Over a third say the outcome of the summit was a major achievement for the US, with 29% saying it was minor and 27% saying it was not an achievement at all. A similar question was asked in September 2013 after the Syrian government admitted it owns chemical weapons and agreed to turn them over to international authorities for destruction. For comparison, 51% said that was a major achievement for the US.

Despite the barrage of positive images from Singapore, the public’s approval of how Trump is handling North Korea dropped by 5 points since May to 48%. Eighty-six percent of Republicans approve, 21% of Democrats and about half of independents. This issue is almost his most popular, with Trump’s handling of the economy at 49% approval — just 1 point up.

The number of Americans who believe that North Korea poses an immediate threat to the US has been cut in half since last year. But only 16% say North Korea poses no threat at all to the US. Here’s why: Just 38% say North Korea will give up a significant number of nuclear weapons by 2021 (as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has predicted) and only a quarter believe that North Korea will eventually give up all of its nuclear weapons and all of its facilities for making more of them. It makes sense that most say North Korea probably won’t ever give up all its nuclear weapons, as those who say the country is a “long-term threat” has increased by 7 points since March.

By a 5-point margin, a plurality think Kim got a better deal for his country, at 40%. Those demographics that support Trump were more likely to say the President got a better deal (63% of Republicans say so), whereas Democratic supporters are more likely to say Kim got the better end (62% of Democrats).

Along with the widespread belief that Trump did not get what he wanted out of the meeting in Singapore, many Americans think he gave up too much in exchange. Nearly half disapprove of Trump’s decision to stop joint military exercises with South Korea, and 40% approve.

Kim’s rating remains highly unfavorable, at only 9% favorable and 78% unfavorable. The number who find him unfavorable has ticked down slightly (by 4 points) since May, but there have been fluctuations in his numbers for many years. He was at an all-time low in December 2014, when only 1 percent of respondents said they found him favorable.

As for that Nobel Peace Prize? Only 22% think Trump deserves the award. Even among those who approve of the job the President is doing, 54% of that group believes he should get it.

School honoring Confederate general renamed Barack Obama Elementary

WQAD News -

RICHMOND, Va. - A Richmond, Virginia, elementary school will switch its name from that of a Confederate general to that of the nation's first black President.

On Monday, the Richmond school board voted to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary as Barack Obama Elementary School, reported WTVR.

Members of the school's community submitted ideas for a new name and students at the Richmond school, which is 95% African-American according to WTVR, voted among seven choices. The top three finalists were: Barack Obama, Northside and Wishtree, the station reported.

Last year, a school board in Mississippi dropped the name Jefferson Davis, for the president of the Confederacy, in favor of naming an elementary school after America's 44th president.

Also on Monday, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, school board voted to rename Columbus and Chouteau elementary schools, but delayed the vote on what to call another elementary school that is named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee, reported CNN affiliate KRJH.

Columbus Elementary, named for the now-controversial 15th century explorer, will become Dolores Huerta Elementary, named after the activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez.

Chouteau Elementary, named for trader and purported slave owner Jean-Pierre Chouteau, according to CNN affiliate KTUL, will become Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy, named for a local basketball star who became an NBA player and later a successful jazz musician before his death in 2009.

The Tulsa school board approved a change for Robert E. Lee Elementary, but will decide on a new name at its next meeting in August, CNN affiliate KJRH reported.

A debate surrounding what to do with Confederate names, statues and symbols has been underway in recent years since Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015. And it flared up again after white nationalists marched during the summer to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed.

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that 100 public schools in the US are named for Confederate leaders, with most of them clustered in the South.

Emma Gonzalez and Parkland survivors will be in Iowa discussing gun control

WQAD News -

Emma González, a well-known survivor of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, will be among those calling for stricter gun control policies in Sioux City on Wednesday. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other schools involved with March for Our Lives launched their Road to Change tour Friday in Chicago. The tour is aimed at calling attention to gun violence and demanding policy changes. Along with stops in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, the tour will take students to Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa.

More: Parkland shooting survivors plan 3 Iowa events during national March for Our Lives

More: What to know about March for Our Lives bus tour stops in Iowa

Their political movement is demanding universal, comprehensive background checks, better database technology for tracking guns, a ban on high-capacity magazines, a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles and public funding “to research the gun violence epidemic in America.”

A majority of Iowans believe increased controls on gun purchases won’t reduce mass shootings, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll published in December.

Fifty-six percent of Iowa adults say additional controls won’t lead to fewer mass shootings. Forty percent believe stricter controls would reduce them.

Four percent aren’t sure.

The trip to Sioux City is no accident — students will challenge U.S. Rep. Steve King’s stance on guns in his own backyard. They say politicians like him are responsible for allowing gun violence.

Even in places where the group meets dissent, Deitsch says activists often find plenty of common ground. And the conversations have been elevated and sincere, even in times of disagreement.

“I think protest is one of the most American things you can do, but it’s also important not to just protest and yell at people,” he said. “It’s about that kind of middle ground. Most people in this country are in the middle and caught in the messaging or certain labels. If we just had this conversation, we could get a lot accomplished.”

The bus tour chose to visi­­t cities plagued by gun violence, whether in inner cities or through high-profile mass shootings, Deitsch said. The group’s website says it will go to “places where the NRA has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives.”

“We mostly picked places where we can have that tough conversation — a lot of places where we might not always be welcomed right away,” Deitsch said. “We just picked places where we can drive on a bus and talk to people and perpetuate this conversation about saving lives.”

Students won’t be shy about calling out King, the Republican from Kiron who represents Sioux City and the wider 4th Congressional District. It’s the state’s most heavily Republican congressional district and covers 39 counties in northwest and north-central Iowa. His office did not respond to the Register’s request for comment.

“All we’re trying to do is extend the conversation to this community because he’s not doing enough to save lives,” Deitsch said. “Like most of our representatives, he’s on the long list of people that aren’t doing enough to save our kids from dying.”

King has already had public conflicts with the Parkland students, González in particular.

In March, the congressman’s campaign Facebook page posted a picture of González as she spoke at a rally in Washington. In the picture, the teen wore a Cuban flag patch.

“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” the post read.

And other Parkland students have set their sights on King as a prime example of politicians who need to be voted out.

“You prove why so many … are done with politicians like you,” David Hogg, a well-known Parkland activist, tweeted in March.

Another student, Jaclyn Corin, said they planned to “vote you out, Steve.”

King has been safely re-elected for years and political prognosticators don’t yet believe this year will be different.

Aside from their political agenda, Deitsch said students are looking forward to exploring new parts of the country. He said he’s never been to Kansas, Nebraska or Iowa — all stops on the tour.

“Parkland’s a bubble — and our bubble’s been popped. So we want to be in touch with people in other parts of the country,” he said. “But the message is the same — the goal is the same: The whole idea is that we’re going to come together to affect change.”

The bus hauling students across the country has somewhat of a revolving door, as students jump on and off at different stops along the way, said Matt Deitsch, a youth organizer and strategist with March for Our Lives. But González plans to be on hand for events in Sioux City.

“Emma is really, really excited to be in Sioux City. We’re all kind of rotating in and out,” Deitsch told the Des Moines Register on Monday. “She’s not with us today, but she’ll be with us later.”

A shooter killed 17 people on Feb. 14 at Stoneman Douglas High School. Within 24 hours of the rampage, the Parkland students captured the attention of the nation as they not only grieved in public, but began calling out lawmakers and inserting themselves into the center of the gun-control movement.

This article was republished from The Des Moines Register.

Audio of children crying for parents at border stokes anger over separation

WQAD News -

Watch Video

An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking voices of small Spanish-speaking children crying out for their parents at a U.S. immigration facility took center stage Monday in the growing uproar over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

“Papa! Papa!” one child is heard weeping in the audio file that was first reported by the nonprofit ProPublica and later provided to The Associated Press.

The audio was published Monday by the investigative nonprofit ProPublica. It adds a visceral element to the coverage of a controversial Trump administration policy of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders.

Cries of “Mami” and “Papá” build over a cacophony of wails and sobs. An adult on the recording compares the wrenching cries to an “orchestra.”

“What’s missing is a conductor,” says the man in Spanish, whom ProPublica identifies as a border agent.

According to ProPublica, the audio was recorded last week inside a US Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The person who made the recording gave the audio to civil rights attorney Jennifer Harbury, who provided it to ProPublica.

The person who made the recording estimated that the children are between 4 and 10 years old. “It appeared that they had been at the detention center for less than 24 hours, so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw,” the ProPublica report said. “Consulate officials tried to comfort them with snacks and toys. But the children were inconsolable.”

The person who made the recording asked to not be identified for fear of retaliation, according to ProPublica. Harbury told ProPublica the person who recorded it was a client who “heard the children’s weeping and crying, and was devastated by it.”

The children heave and choke on their words. An adult admonishes a child to stop crying — “no llores.”

One child begs for someone to call her aunt. She says she knows her phone number and that her mother has said her aunt will come for her.

ProPublica said it was able to reach the girl’s aunt using her phone number. According to ProPublica, the aunt said she could not help her niece because she and her own 9-year-old daughter are seeking asylum. The aunt told ProPublica that the little girl is in a shelter, and she has been warned by authorities that her mother may be deported without her.

“It was the hardest moment in my life,” the woman said, according to ProPublica. “She’s crying and begging me to go get her. She says, ‘I promise I’ll behave, but please get me out of here. I’m all alone.”

The clip was widely shared online. Journalists could be heard listening to the audio as they waited for a White House press briefing to start.

When asked about the recording during the press briefing, Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen stood by the conditions and standards of care in the facilities.

“I would reference you to the care provided not just by the Department of Homeland Security but by the department by Health and Human Services when they get to HHS,” she said.

Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Trump administration’s practice of taking undocumented immigrant children from their families and putting them in government facilities on US borders, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. Only 28% approve.

Pages

Subscribe to I Connect You aggregator - The latest local news