The latest local news

After you deck the halls, Sterling group wants you to deck the bikes

WQAD News -

STERLING, Illinois– As we gear up for the holidays, we’re not necessarily thinking about hopping on our bikes.

A group, led by Mead’s Bike Shop in Sterling, Illinois, is inviting others to come along for the ride this Saturday. It’s their annual “Winter Solstice Ride,” and will take place in Sterling-Rock Falls Saturday between 6pm and 10pm.

According to their Facebook event page, participants are encouraged to dress themselves and their bikes with Christmas attire.

It’s a casual ride for adults 18 and over and bills itself as a great way to “spread holiday cheer while having a few beers.”

Be sure to click here for more information and RSVP on their Facebook page and a special thank you to Dawn Spangler for the photos from last year.

The weather looks great for your ride on Saturday. It will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the 30s. Have fun, everybody! Looks like a great time.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen


Eastern Tennessee records state’s second-strongest earthquake

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DECATUR, Tennessee-- Early this morning, the Volunteer State of Tennessee saw the second-strongest earthquake on record. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck eastern Tennessee and could be felt as far away as Atlanta.

The earthquake occurred Wednesday around 4:14 a.m. about 7 miles northeast of Decatur. About 13 minutes later, a 3.3 magnitude aftershock struck.

We're following breaking news from Tennessee where a magnitude 4.4 #Earthquake jostled people out of bed.

— EricSorensen (@ERICSORENSEN) December 12, 2018

This is strong enough to cause cracks in foundations and walls, but no widespread damage is expected. According to the National Weather Service, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck Eastern Tennessee in 1973.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Thieves pose as volunteers to steal thousands of toys from Toys for Tots

WQAD News -

AKRON, Ohio -- Police in Akron, Ohio say thieves signed up as volunteers for Toys for Tots, but ended up stealing thousands of gifts meant for kids, according to WJW.

“Right now, we have over 15,000 children in Summit County and the surrounding areas. It means a lot, for some of the kids, this is all they have,” said Traci Higgenbottom-Williams, director.

Williams has run the program in Akron for 20 years but what happened late Monday night is a first.

She says the thieves signed up as volunteers so they could steal thousands of toys.

“This is our first year we opened it up to volunteers; usually we have a small staff that does this. Around 10:40 at night, I noticed some things were gone that shouldn’t have been gone,” said Williams.

Surveillance cameras were rolling outside the First Faith Development Corporation on Easter Avenue as the men stole bags upon bags and even boxes of toys and took them out the back door.

“It tears me up. Because this process just doesn’t start in December. I start in January to make sure the kids get the best. I don’t give them anything I wouldn’t give my kids when they were small. So when you take from them, it hurts me. Makes me angry,” said Williams.

Williams says the loss is estimated at $5,000, but it is much more than money.

“Because you stole from kids who did nothing to you. They are innocent. They are our future and we are trying to help them, encourage them and be a blessing to them and you are robbing that from them,” said Williams.

CLICK HERE, if you would like to help.

Trump threatens shutdown in wild encounter with Democrats

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WASHINGTON (AP) — In a wild Oval Office confrontation, President Donald Trump heatedly threatened to shut down the U.S. government Tuesday as he and Democratic leaders bickered over funding for his promised border wall and offered a grim preview of life in Washington the next two years under divided government.

Trump and House and Senate Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer squabbled for more than 15 minutes in the stunning, televised encounter. Each of them, especially Trump, interrupted the others to question facts, quibble over election results and lob insults.

Trump questioned Pelosi’s ability to count votes in her own House. She questioned his manhood — after she left the building.

The public clash marked Trump’s first meeting with the newly empowered Democrats since their midterm victories that put them in control of the House, laying bare the tensions on both sides and suggesting how divided government might work — or not — as the 2020 presidential election nears.

Neither the public nor the private face-to-face portion of the meeting appeared to resolve the wall-funding dispute with a partial shutdown looming on Dec. 21. However, Pelosi said Trump called her later in the afternoon and told her the White House was looking at options she and Schumer had laid out.

In the public debate, Trump sounded more determined than ever to allow a partial government shutdown unless he gets the billions he wants for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” he declared.

Pelosi later crowed that she and Schumer had goaded the president to “fully own that the shutdown was his.” She told Democratic lawmakers back at the Capitol, according to an aide who was in the room, that the wall was “like a manhood thing for him … as if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing.”

The aide was not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.

While Trump has suggested he may be willing to trade with Democrats and has publicly praised Pelosi, he was focused Tuesday on reinforcing his hardline immigration promises, repeatedly stressing border security and the wall as a critical part. Democrats were in no mood to sympathize, emphasizing their newfound political strength.

“Elections have consequences, Mr. President,” said Schumer.

Trump later called it a “friendly meeting,” saying “I’ve actually liked them for a long period of time and I respect them both. And we made a lot of progress.” The Democrats said they had given Trump two options to keep government open and the responsibility lay with him and Republicans who control Congress.

The wall remains the main sticking point in talks. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged Tuesday that the GOP-led House has yet to pass legislation that includes the $5 billion in border wall funds that Trump has been requesting. Ryan likely lacks sufficient votes from Republicans who will lose their majority at the end of the month.

Trump is seeking far more for his long-stalled border wall than the $1.6 billion the Senate has agreed to for border security, including physical barriers and technology along the U.S. southern border.

Should the two sides not make a deal by Dec. 21, about three-quarters of the government would continue to have enough money to operate. But departments affected absent a deal include Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.

Both sides came into the negotiating session primed for battle. After a few niceties, Trump dug into Democrats on the border wall, prompting a stern rebuke from Schumer that the issue at hand was “called funding the government.” Trump soon started scrapping with Pelosi, when she said there should not be a “Trump shutdown.”

“Did you say Trump?” the president said, as the two argued over whether Trump had enough Republican votes in the House to support his border wall plan.

“The fact is that you do not have the votes in the House,” Pelosi declared.

Trump shot back, “Nancy, I do.”

Also in a fighting mood, Schumer accused Trump of threatening a shutdown “because you can’t get your way.”

Trump heckled Schumer over a previous shutdown, saying “the last time you shut it down you got killed” politically.

Pelosi and Schumer both repeatedly asked to make the conversation private, without success, as Trump argued that the public meeting was a good thing: “It’s called transparency.”

Trump repeatedly returned to his argument that the border wall is needed for security reasons. He also argued that “tremendous” portions of the wall have already been built. In fact, some barrier renovation has happened, but little wall construction has been completed under Trump.

If Democrats refuse to support the wall, the military will build the remaining sections, Trump said. “The wall will get built,” he insisted.

Hours after the meeting ended, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement that “there is no plan” for the military to build sections of a border wall. But Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis added that the military may have the power to fund “barrier projects” in national emergencies or to counter the drug trade.

Pence, a former House member, sat silently as Trump and the two Democrats bickered. He later called the meeting a “good discussion.” Asked to describe the atmosphere in the private meeting that followed the public quarrel, Pence said, “candid.”

Pelosi and Schumer have urged Trump to support a measure that includes a half-dozen government funding bills largely agreed upon by lawmakers, along with a separate measure that would fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The homeland bill includes about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures at the border.

If Trump rejects that, Democrats are urging a continuing resolution that would fund all the remaining appropriations bills at current levels through Sept. 30.

“We gave the president two options that would keep the government open,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement after the meeting. “It’s his choice to accept one of those options or shut the government down.”

Pelosi, who is seeking to become House speaker when the new Congress convenes in January, said she and many other Democrats consider the wall “immoral, ineffective and expensive.” She noted that Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, an idea Mexico has repeatedly rejected.

In fact, Trump declared during the presidential campaign two years ago, “That wall will go up so fast your head will spin.”

Pelosi’s willingness to stand up to Trump won praise from Democrats. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California told CNN that she “may have sealed her speakership by going toe-to-toe with the president.”

Despite the rancor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hadn’t given up hope that a shutdown can be averted. The Kentucky Republican said “magic” sometimes happens in Congress ahead of Christmas, when lawmakers are eager to leave Washington.

“I’d like to see a smooth ending here,” McConnell said at the Capitol.

CNN contributed the video in this story.

Most Illinoisans live in ‘child care deserts,’ report says

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About 58 percent of Illinois residents live in a “child care desert” with few or no options for licensed daytime care for kids while parents work.

The Center for American Progress’ annual report listing every licensed daycare and home daycare in the nation shows there are very few places for a dual-income family to send their children when they’re at work.

Child care, the report said, has become a necessity for working parents.

“Two-thirds of U.S. children who have not started school have all parents in the workforce. At the same time, the cost of childcare is out of reach for the average family; in most areas of the country, it exceeds the costs of rent or in-state college tuition,” according to the report.

In Illinois, parents pay about $13,000 a year per child for daycare on average, putting the state near the top in the nation in terms of average annual cost.

Rasheed Malik, who wrote the report, said two-thirds of rural U.S. Census tracts in Illinois have at least 50 kids living there with a demand of at least three kids per available daycare spot. That means two of the three children don’t have the option, even if their parents can afford it.

“About 70 percent of the rural population lives in a childcare desert,” he said.

A significant blind spot in the report data is child care provided by family, friends and neighbors. About one of every four kids younger than 6 is in that category.

“Family, friend and neighbor care will always be there to help people bridge those gaps and to help people patch things together and have flexibility,” Malik said. “It’s certainly very large, in part, because the licensed and regulated child care market is not where it needs to be.”

These relatives and family friends are not required to go through training, safety checks, and periodic licensing inspections for renewal, a significant cost of running a daycare.

“[Family, friend and neighbor] providers must be equipped with the supports necessary to ensure that the care they provide is safe and enriching,” the report said.

About 24 percent of children younger than 6 are in home-based childcare with a relative, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.

The report recommends more spending to make the schools more widely available. It lauded Connecticut’s plan to reimburse up to $17,000 in childcare costs per year. The report didn’t offer specifics on how to do that while lowering the cost, whether it’s paid by parents or taxpayers. The Child Care Aware of America study estimated Connecticut’s child care costs at more than $15,000 a year per child.

Davenport residents approve tax levy increase

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DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Unofficial results show over two-thirds of voters approved renewing and increasing the "Physical Plant and Equipment Levy" fund (PPEL) for the new 10 years.

People living in Davenport will see a tax increase. The money will sustain PPEL, a fund used to cover maintenance and upgrades at Davenport schools.

“Thank you to our community for approving the renewal of our Physical Plant & Equipment Levy for another 10-year period," Interim Superintendent TJ Schneckloth said in a statement. "We also appreciate the increase in the levy amount. It will allow us to continue the maintenance and renovation needed on our schools to provide a good learning environment for our students and staff.”

Over 2,300 voters (64.59 percent) approved of the renewal and increase. Just over 1,285 people (35.41 percent) voted against the levy increase.

With the increase tonight, the levy reaches the same levels as in Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley.

The increase stops the district from having to dip into the general fund, money used for things such as employee salaries and benefits and instructional materials.

The district already had to cut $13 million from the budget for next school year. That budget was accepted by the School Budget Review Committee Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Bettendorf voters reject $30 million bond referendum

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BETTENDORF, Iowa-- Over two-thirds of people voted against the proposed bond referendum in Bettendorf Tuesday, Nov. 11, according to unofficial results from the Scott County Auditor's Office.

The $30 million bond referendum would have increased property taxes in Bettendorf.

The proposal needed 60 percent of the vote to pass. About 1,000 people (or 35 percent) of voters supported the bond referendum, while more than 1,800 people (or 64.4 percent) of voters opposed it.

The money would've gone towards completing athletic facility, classroom and building upgrades over the next three to six years.

The Bettendorf School District says it will continue with those plans even though the bond referendum didn't pass. The school board will meet on Dec. 17 to prioritize project moving forward. It could take 12-15 years to finish all the projects.

"We remain dedicated to continuing to be a fiscally responsible district as well as provide our students with high-quality learning environments that last for generations..." Bettendorf Superintendent Mike Raso said in a press release. "Working in partnership with the family and community, we will instill and nurture in all students the knowledge, skills, creativity, and confidence to pursue their dreams and to succeed in a global society.

Polling places in Bettendorf saw long lines. The high turnout also caused the results to come in later than expected, according to the Scott County Auditor's Office.

More than 15 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the special election Tuesday. During the last special election in the city in 2014, only 7.6 percent of eligible voters turned out.

Had the vote passed, people living in Bettendorf would've seen their property taxes increase.

Davenport Firefighters rescue drowning dog from the Mississippi

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Davenport firefighters saved a German Shepard from the mighty Mississippi Monday, December 10.

According to their Facebook page, they pulled the drowning dog out near Modern Woodmen Park.

The Firefighters who pulled of the dramatic rescue were on Truck 1, C Shift, their names are Doug Ripperger, Packy Dolan, and Kurt Blackburn.

The dog’s owner was visiting from out of town and told firefighters the dog, chased after seagulls and jumped through the railing west of the ballpark and into the river.

“With the river running low, firefighters realized it was a long way from the top of the wall to the river where the 50-lbs. dog was clinging to the wall as best it could with his head out of the water, Ryan said. Dolan, using a 12-foot pike pole, hooked the dog by his collar and pulled the pike pole hand-over-hand as the dog clawed at the wall to safety.”

The dog was safely turned over to his owner.

Leaf pickup extended to late December

WQAD News -

MUSCATINE, Iowa- Due to weather, The Department of Public Works will be picking up leaves late into December.

The DPW says two trucks are continuing the leaf pickup program for the City of Muscatine while the weather remains dry.

According to Brian Stineman, DPW Director:

  “the current plan for leaf pickup is to finish Zone 7 and 8 with the two trucks that are out as soon as possible.”

Stineman says that the City will be shutting down all leaf collection for 2018 on Friday, December 21.

The city’s compost site will remain open through Sunday, December 16, 2018.

The compost site is open 12-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 12-6 p.m. on Sunday.

The site will close for the season on Monday, December 17, 2018.

Robert Young receives six figure grant for suicide prevention

WQAD News -

QUAD CITIES- The Robert Young center has received a $100,000 grant, to create a youth suicide and self-harm support program.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24.

The program will offer therapy groups for kids and teenagers as well as support for their parents.

People in both Iowa and Illinois can use the program, the grant was awarded from the Quad Cities Community Foundation.

Buy a dozen eggs with Fareway, they’ll give a dozen eggs to the hungry

WQAD News -

QUAD CITIES- Starting this week December 10-24 Fareway stores have a deal to help the hungry.

From December 10 until Christmas Eve when a customer buys two dozen eggs another dozen eggs will be donated to the food bank of Iowa.

Last year the campaign was able to donate more than 21,000, dozen eggs.

Fareway is partnering with Iowa egg farmers to put this promotion together.

Learning music may make kids smarter

WQAD News -

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Five years ago, psychologists at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California studied how learning music might affect brain development in young children. They used MRIs to look at potential brain changes after participation in music and other activities.

Raquel Montoya, 12 has played violin with the LA Philharmonic Youth Orchestra after school, two hours a day, since she was six. She’s in a study on how music training affects kids’ brains for Assal Habibi, a professor of psychology at Univeristy of Southern California.

“We saw that children who have had music training had stronger brain activation in the frontal region of the brain. These are the areas that are responsible for decision-making,” Habibi said.

Researchers tracked 25 six-year-olds, using MRIs to measure things like brain maturation, social skills and learning abilities. They compared their results with control groups of kids in sports programs and kids with no organized training.

The music-trained group had a stronger connection between the right and left sides of the brain. Their cognitive skills, including executive function abilities and auditory skills were better. Raquel said the training helps her learn.

“When I’m at school and I see other kids that don’t do any other activities, like they just go home, I see them struggle a lot. And sometimes, I am just like, how’s this so hard when it’s easy?" Raquel said.

“Not only is it fun and brings children together and teaches them social skills, but it would seem to be important toward the brain and cognitive development,” Habibi said.

“Music, it opens up the brain," Raquel's mom said.

The Youth Orchestra, or YOLA, is a free after-school program. Habibi is spreading the word about her study results, hoping they’ll convince policymakers that music and the arts are just as critical as science and math are to children’s learning.

“Our Favorite Things” The Ruby Slipper

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Our Favorite Things

Denise Hnytka's picks:

  1. Ruby Slipper has the best sweater selection in the QC. You can't go wrong with something soft and cozy in a beautiful color.
  2. Faux fur vests are everywhere this season. I love that this one comes in a standout color. Give her this vest, and she'll have the perfect piece for NYE!
  3. This natural stone bracelet is made by a regional artist. It's a unique piece that no one else will have. It's the perfect addition to any outfit!

Johnnie Jindrich's picks:

  1. Love these dark jeans with the black velvet tux stripe. They will jazz up any casual dress code Christmas party! DL 1961 Margaux Instasculpt Ankle Skinny Jeans in Morrison.
  2.  This smells amazing! The Thymes brand is always a good choice. I love the Frasier Fir scent... it totally matches my frasier fir Christmas tree.
  3. How about one of these coin-look zodiac necklaces to give any lady on your list? These are so chic.

Woman captures scary moment man tried to enter her car at Indiana stoplight

WQAD News -

AVON, Ind. – A woman recorded a terrifying altercation with a man who tried multiple times to get into the passenger side of her car, according to WXIN.

The video was recorded around 7:45 a.m. on Saturday at the intersection of U.S. Route 36 and Dan Jones Road in Avon, Indiana.

The woman was alone in her car, waiting at a stoplight. The video shows a man she didn’t know get out from the passenger seat of the car in front of her, and try to open the passenger side door of her car.

After he realizes the door is locked, he stares into the window and walks back to his car. Instead of driving away, the car backs up and the man gets out again. This goes on for nearly two traffic light cycles.

“Our understanding is that she was unable to maneuver around this individual,” said Brain Nugent, assistant chief of police for the Avon Police Department.

Police have been working with the woman to find out what happened.

“We certainly are just glad she took steps to protect herself," Nugent said. "At that time she was by herself in that vehicle and that individual was targeting her in a pretty aggressive manner as we can tell from the video.”

While investigators don’t know what led up to the incident, they were able to identify the man as Bernard Joeseph Osburn, who WXIN found to be a registered sex offender, convicted of child exploitation in 2012.

“Investigators did speak with him for a few moments and he chose not to provide a statement about what had taken place,” Nugent said. "It's his right to not provide a statement, so we respect that right.”

Throughout the video, cars can be seen driving by as the scene unfolded, and police are hoping that someone can give another perspective about what took place.

“We're obviously wanting to learn more about what led up to this or if anybody had actually witnessed this,” Nugent said.

The Avon Police Department is asking anyone who may have seen the incident to contact them at 317-272-4485.

Man found living in storage room with gun, about 600 rounds of ammunition

WQAD News -

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Authorities made a startling discovery at a California park on Monday, where a man had been living in a storage room with a cache of weapons.

Ruben Perez is seen in this booking photo after Santa Ana police arrested him on a number of counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The president of a local youth softball league, along with a coach, were getting ready for a practice at Carl Thornton Park when they went into a small storage room near a baseball field, according to KTLA.

There they encountered Ruben Perez, 37, who had apparently broken into the storage room and started living there, according to Santa Ana Police.

Some people who go to the park regularly said they had seen him there for about four or five days.

According to police, when the president of the league and the coach confronted Perez, telling him he wasn't allowed to be there, Perez reportedly threatened to get his "strap."

They called police, who arrived and found Perez was in possession of a handgun, multiple magazines, and about 600 rounds ammunition.

Santa Ana Police found a man living in a storage room at a park with this handgun and about 600 rounds of ammunition.

Police said Perez is a felon, and cannot legally possess the weapon, and they also believe he had stolen the items.

"We don't know what his intent was, but obviously for us, it's concerning that he was living inside a park where we have lots of kids, lots of sports activities going on as well as people trying to enjoy the park," Anthony Bertagna with the Santa Ana Police Department said.

"If one of those girls would've grabbed their equipment out of that room, he could've held them hostage," Santa Ana resident Marina Sorensen said. "Oh, the thought of it now. It's horrible."

Perez was booked on a number of counts including being a felon in possession of a firearm.

New mecca of mac & cheese coming to the Quad Cities

WQAD News -

QUAD CITIES- The quintessential comfort food (Mac & Cheese) will soon have an entire restaurant dedicated to it in the Quad Cities.

Cheesy Cow, a restaraunt that specializes in Mac & Cheese stated that they will be coming to Bettendorf by way of a Facebook Post.

According to their page, the opening will be December 17, at 11 a.m.

The restaurant will offer several gourmet mac & cheeses, as well as grilled cheese sandwiches.

Cheesy Cow will be located in Bettendorf, at 4850 BettPlex Drive.

The same people who created Coffee Hound are behind this new restraunt.


Christian Care homeless shelter seeking year-round financial backers

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Christian Care homeless shelter in Rock Island has launched a new program inviting supporters to provide ongoing financial donations.

The shelter says it gets a lot of donations around the end of each year, but that homelessness is a year-round problem. The Building a Bridge Back Home program seeks to encourage more donations around the year.

"What we want to do at Christian Care is be a bridge, to help people get off the dangerous life on the street and into long-term, safe, stable housing," said Community Outreach Coordinator Steve Gottcent. "And so what we're inviting people to do is become an ongoing financial partner."

Christian Care says a monthly donation of $10 a month provides three meals for a day for one person. A monthly donation of $40 provides three meals and a night of shelter, while a donation of $280 provides a week of food and shelter.

Gottcent said supporters have the option of setting up an automatic monthly donation from an account of their choosing. Recurring donations help the shelter prepare and allocate its budget for operating its community meal site and other programs that help people overcome challenges like addiction and secure steady employment.

"So as people come in, OK, this is not just a little hotel for a while," said Gottcent. "We want to help you, so that in the next few months you’ll actually be able to move out and get back to living life," he said.

Senate votes overwhelmingly to renew farm programs

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for a sweeping agriculture bill that will fund key farm safety net programs for the next five years without making significant changes to the food stamp program.

The vote was 87-13. The House is expected to pass the measure soon and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought the bill up for a quick vote Tuesday, less than one day after the House and Senate reached an agreement on the final text.

The measure is the result of months of negotiations, and does not make any significant changes — despite pressure from President Donald Trump — to the food stamp program that serves nearly 40 million low-income Americans.

"This is what happens when the Congress works in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., ahead of the vote. "It's a good bill that accomplishes what we set out to do: provide certainty and predictability for farmers and families in rural communities."

The legislation sets federal agricultural and food policy for five years and provides more than $400 billion in farm subsidies, conservation programs and food aid for the poor. It reauthorizes crop insurance and conservation programs and funds trade programs, bioenergy production and organic farming research. It also reduces the cost for struggling dairy producers to sign up for support programs and legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp, an initiative championed by McConnell.

One thing the bill doesn't have: tighter work requirements for food stamp recipients, a provision of the House bill that became a major sticking point during negotiations.

"We maintain a strong safety net for farmers and importantly, we maintain a strong safety net for our families," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the most senior Democrat on the agriculture committee. "We said no to harmful changes that would take food away from families, and instead increased program integrity and job training to be able to make sure things should be working as they should and every dollar is used as it should be."

The House bill would have raised the age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59 and required parents with children older than 6 years to work or participate in job training. The House measure also sought to limit circumstances under which families who qualify for other poverty programs can automatically be eligible for SNAP, and earmarked $1 billion to expand work-training programs.

By contrast, the bipartisan Senate bill, which passed 86-11, offered modest adjustments to existing farm programs and made no changes to SNAP.

Throughout the negotiation process Trump made his support for work requirements clear, tweeting about the issue multiple times. But negotiators ultimately rejected the most controversial House measures related to SNAP, making no significant changes to the program. The outcome is a victory for Democrats, who refused to support them.

The final bill also preserves states' ability to provide waivers, and does not change eligibility criteria. It does increase funding for employment and job training programs from $90 million to roughly $103.9 million per year.

The two chambers also clashed over portions of the bill's forestry and conservation sections. But the most contentious pieces of the House version, such as relaxing restrictions on pesticide use, didn't make it into the final text.

Negotiations were complicated in recent weeks when the White House asked Congress to make changes to the forestry section in response to deadly wildfires in California, giving more authority to the Agriculture and Interior departments to clear forests and other public lands. The final text doesn't significantly increase the agencies' authority.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Monday the bill "maintains a strong safety net for the farm economy, invests in critical agricultural research and will promote agriculture exports through robust trade programs," but voiced disappointment over the failed changes to the work requirement.

"While we would have liked to see more progress on work requirements for SNAP recipients and forest management reforms, the conference agreement does include several helpful provisions, and we will continue to build upon these through our authorities," he said.

The bill also maintains current limits on farm subsidies, but includes a House provision to expand the definition of family to include first cousins, nieces and nephews, making them eligible for payments under the program.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, a strong proponent of stricter work requirements, thanked Perdue and the administration for their support.

"America's farmers and ranchers are weathering the fifth year of severe recession, so passing a farm bill this week that strengthens the farm safety net is vitally important," Conaway said.

Deadly France shooting prompts broad lockdown at Christmas market

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PARIS (AP) — A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded 11 others, officials said, sparking a broad lockdown and major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

French prosecutors said a terrorism investigation was opened into the shooting, though authorities haven't announced a motive. It's unclear if the market — which was the nucleus of an al-Qaida plot in 2000 — was targeted. The city is also home to the European Parliament, which was locked down after the shooting.

The gunman has been identified and has a criminal record, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The prefect of the Strasbourg region says the gunman had been flagged as a suspected extremist.

The attack came as France has been wracked by four weeks of protests against President Emmanuel Macron, and police forces have been stretched by fighting rioting and other protest-related unrest. Macron himself adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said, indicating the gravity of the attack.

The interior minister and the Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terror probes in France, headed Tuesday night to Strasbourg. The prosecutor's office says the investigation is for murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise.

Several of the wounded are in critical condition, Castaner said.

In multiple neighborhoods of Strasbourg, the French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors. French soldiers were on patrol after the shooting.

"Our security and rescue services are mobilized," Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to "avoid the area of the police station," which is close to the city's Christmas market. Strasbourg's well-known market is set up around the city's cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

European Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said that "the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice." It wasn't immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that "my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting .... Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy."

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city center.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that "the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers."

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

The drama recalled a millennial terror plot on Strasbourg's Christmas market that still marks the collective memory. Ten suspected Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in December 2004 for their role in a plot to blow up the market on New Year's Eve 2000.

The Algerian and French-Algerian suspects — including an alleged associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden — went on trial in October on charges they were involved in the foiled plot for the attack.

They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to nine years.

Morrison woman gives a life saving gift

WQAD News -

MORRISON, Illinois-- Seven kids, two parents and one strong understanding of the word 'family', that's how it always has been for the Proud family.

"I think its just in our blood," says brother Greg Proud.

Greg is the jokester, Chris is the baby sister.

This older brother's definition of 'younger sister' is changing, though.

"A really caring, amazing especially the stuff she does for me. I can't imagine someone giving an organ away," says Greg.

She's not just little Chrissy anymore, she's Greg's life saver.

"I'm just grateful to help," says Chris.

Greg has lived with diabetes for more than half his life. The diabetes is not causing kidney failure. For the past 15 months, Greg has been going through dialysis four hours a day, three times a week. And he's never without Chris.

"After going to his first appointments I went with him, that's when my mind started thinking of donating, seeing everything up front of what actually goes on with all of this," says Chris.

To Chris, family means helping at all costs, so the decision to donate her kidney to her brother was simple.

"I'm just ready to go. I'm good to go. I could go today, I'm ready. We wanted to go 6 months ago," says Chris.

She has two healthy kidneys and one to spare.

"A very goods Christmas gift. Yep, I'll never get a better one," says Greg.

Now siblings mean two people who will always be there for each other.

Chris and Greg will undergo surgery on Monday, December 15, 2018. They both should be back home by Christmas.


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