The latest local news

Andrew Yang believes Shane Gillis ‘deserved another chance to keep his job’

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(CNN) — Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang reiterated on Monday his belief that Shane Gillis should have kept his job on “Saturday Night Live” after the comedian’s bigoted comments against Chinese Americans came to light.

“You know, I’ve been public about my comments,” Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, told CNN during a gaggle with reporters after a campaign rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, following news of the comedian’s ouster. “I think that he deserved another chance to keep his job, but the folks at NBC obviously felt differently.”

Asked why he believes Gillis deserved another chance, Yang said he believes “as a society, we have become unduly punitive and vindictive about people making statements that some find offensive or distasteful.”

“As the person who was personally called out in this case, I thought that if I could set an example that we can forgive people, particularly in an instance where, in my mind, it was in a comedic context or a gray area, that I thought it would be positive. Obviously, it is in NBC’s hands and they made the decision they made,” he said.

Shortly after Gillis’ hire was announced last week, his past defamatory comments about Chinese Americans and homosexuals made during a podcast surfaced, prompting the comic to apologize. The long-running sketch comedy show announced on Monday it had fired Gillis and that his remarks were “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable.”

Yang said Monday afternoon that Gillis reached out to him.

“Looks like we will be sitting down together soon,” he tweeted.

Wisconsin brothers charged with running massive drug operation that made THC vaping cartridges

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KENOSHA Wis. - Tyler and Jacob Huffhines face multiple charges, accused of operating an "empire of illegal drugs." The two were busted in connection with a ring selling illegal THC vaping cartridges worth millions of dollars. The two brothers appeared in Kenosha County court on Monday, one after the other.

Officials say Tyler Huffhines was the mastermind - starting the illegal empire from just 100 cartridges and turning it into possibly one of the largest drug operations of its kind in the country, according to WITI.

Prosecutors say the two are accused of taking a major trip side-by-side.

"Jacob Huffhines did go to California with his brother Tyler Huffhines with $300,000 in order to purchase the THC distillate that was found at the condominium," said the prosecutor.

The complaint says Tyler Huffhines' Snapchat showed "he posted videos of him sitting in first class on the airplane" on his way to California. A confidential informant was able to provide information that the mason jars indeed made their way back to Wisconsin and they were being used to manufacture "between 4,000 and 5,000 cartridges per day," the complaint says.

Officials say the brothers rented a condo that their mother managed. Investigators say the residence was obtained with a fake name. Police say the condo was being used for drug trafficking. Inside, detectives discovered a massive operation with THC buds and much more.

"There were 31,000 cartridges ready to get shipped out and tens of thousands more waiting to get filled and then get shipped out in the future," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

Sheriff Beth said tubs and mason jars were just a snapshot of what has gone out.

"There are tens or hundreds of thousands of cartridges that have been shipped out and potentially hurt or even killed people in the past," Beth said. "So this is a grave concern for us here in Kenosha, and also the entire nation."

When search warrants were executed on Sept. 5, officers found weapons, drugs, cape cartridges, empty vacuum-sealed bags and a digital scale - all common paraphernalia for ingesting and weighing marijuana.

When questioned by investigators, the complaint says Tyler Huffhines "stated he never smoked THC and got into the business solely to make money. He stated he saw a demand for THC vape cartridges so he started purchasing THC vape cartridges from California." Huffhines indicated all the money he made from selling the marijuana and THC vape cartridges was put back into the business," the complaint says. He told authorities, "You invest more, you make more. No risk, no reward."

The complaint indicates Huffhines paid workers $20 cash per hour to fill THC cartridges for him. But he "found out that by changing it to 30 cents per cartridge, the people would work harder so their productivity went up and he saved even more money," according to the complaint. Huffhines stated he would stop by the condo in Bristol "once a day to say hi to the workers and then to also pay them."

Bond for the Huffhines brothers was set at $50,000 for Jacob and $500,000 for Tyler. Both are due back in court on Sept. 26.

The Huffhines are charged with the following:

  • Possession with intent to deliver THC (> 10,000G) - three counts (Tyler Huffhines)
  • Maintaining a drug trafficking place (Tyler Huffhines)
  • Identity theft - financial gain (Tyler Huffhines)
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon, repeater (Jacob Huffhines)
  • Possession of cocaine - 2nd and subsequent offense (Jacob Huffhines)
  • Possession of THC - 2nd and subsequent offense (Jacob Huffhines)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, repeater (Jacob Huffhines)
  • Possession of a controlled substance, repeater (Jacob Huffhines)

Summer heat through the work week… Trending soggy this weekend

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Slow lifting of the fog from this morning will allow skies to improve during the afternoon returning some sunshine.  Due to the slow nature of this pace, temperatures will likely top out around the low to mid 80s.  Quite humid to say the least especially for this time of year with heat index values approaching 90.

Partly cloudy skies will prevail tonight, though any fog we see will be very isolated due to the better mixing of the air near the surface. Lows overnight will dip around the mid 60s.

Pretty warm and humid in the days ahead for September standards with mid to upper 80s returning for the rest of the work week with overnight lows around 70.

A weak disturbance is still on track before sunrise, Thursday with a stray shower possible. The better coverage still appears to be developing this weekend as a tropical feature from the gulf rides north and interacts with an approaching front.  Like all tropical waves heavy rainfall is possible for parts of the area where over an inch of rainfall can’t be ruled out.  The track will be the key.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Here’s a look at the hour-by-hour forecast from the StormTrack 8 Weather App!

Click on the links below to download the free app:



Third graders get the gift of a dictionary in the Rock Island-Milan School District

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Some students in the Rock Island-Milan School District are each getting a dictionary to call their own, thanks to a gift from a local organization.

The Rock Island Elks Lodge bought enough dictionaries for all of the third graders in the district.  It’s a gift they’ve been giving annually for the last 12 years.

The dictionaries were handed out to the students on Tuesday, September 17.

Iowa says marching band was subjected to ‘inappropriate’ actions during rival game

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa says it has contacted Iowa State after the Hawkeye Marching Band was subjected to “inappropriate actions” during Saturday’s football game between the two rivals.

The statement, which was sent out by Iowa athletic director Gary Barta on Monday, September 16, did not include details and said only that “we have contacted Iowa State athletics administration and are working to gather additional information.”

No. 18 Iowa rallied to beat Iowa State 18-17 on the road. The game at Jack Trice Stadium lasted nearly 6 ½ hours after a pair of weather delays, and some fans from Iowa State’s student section ran onto the field during the second interruption before being sent back by security.

Iowa’s band, like the team itself, was booed heavily by the Iowa State student section when it entered the stadium before kickoff.

WWII soldier’s remains returned for burial in eastern Iowa

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The Iowa National Guard says Pvt. Laurel Ebert, of Blairstown, was last seen Nov. 26, 1942, when he and eight other soldiers went on a mission to silence a Japanese machine gun. The 27-year-old was serving with Company I, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. Ebert and five others didn’t return from the mission and were listed as missing inaction.

The release says remains later identified as those of Ebert were found in January 1943 and interred at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. They were disinterred in May 2015 by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Dental, anthropological and DNA analysis were used to confirm the remains were Ebert’s.

A graveside service is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. Friday at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Blairstown.

Man says Oklahoma church members held him down to pray away his homosexuality

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BLACKWELL, Okla. - A church’s actions are under investigation after a man said he was held down by congregants as they tried to pray away his homosexuality.

Sean Cormie, 23, came out as gay in the spring. Since then, he said his family has asked him to go to church and bring his partner, Gary Gardner.

On Sunday, Sept. 8th, the two joined family and friends for a service at a church Cormie had attended many times.

“I wanted to go to church to make my mom proud and make her happy,” Cormie told KFOR.

The service was normal but at the end, something unexpected happened. Cormie said 12 to 15 congregants circled around Gardner and himself, their prayer growing louder. Meanwhile, they said the pastor began making statements against homosexuality.

“‘It’s a sin, it’s an abomination, you need to realize, wake up, and see it for a sin,’” Cormie said.

The prayer got louder and louder until the two men felt so humiliated, they got up to leave. But Gardner was shuffled out of the building alone.

"They hold me down, pin me down, and I’m crying, and the Holy Spirit just comes through me, and they keep speaking in tongues, praying over me." Cormie said he was even punched in the face. "I was just crying 'mercy, mercy.'"

When they finally let him up, he went to the Blackwell Police Department to file a report. The police chief confirmed the incident is being investigated but wouldn't comment further.

Now, Cormie said he's getting threats from strangers telling him to drop the issue. He said even family members he believes are behind the ordeal are asking him to let it go.

"I couldn’t believe it, a church of all places would show hate and not love," Cormie said.

Pastors Bill and Tami McKissick said in a statement, "On behalf of First Assembly we have been asked by the media to respond to the allegations that have been made. This began as a family matter that escalated. Our church would never condone restraint of any person unless they were engaged in violent activity. There is much more to this incident, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement to hopefully bring all of the facts to light as a rush to judgment is not in anyone's best interest."

"I love the pastors with all my heart," Cormie said, "but what they did was totally wrong, and I want some kind of consequences out of it. I want it to be heard and known because it really saddens my heart."

He said he does believe homosexuality is a sin, but he can't be forced to be something he's not.

"I’m full fledged gay, you can’t change it," Cormie said. "It’s my nature. I’m born that way, so let it be."

Get heart healthy with cooking classes at Unity Point

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Unity Point Health-Trinity in Rock Island is offering a Cooking with Heart series to promote nutritional eating habits.

"The number one killer is heart disease and with just a few changes you can knock down your heart disease risk by 31%," Unity Point Dietitian Teresa Pangan said. "It just takes a little bit of time, investment and energy.

WQAD viewers get a special discount code saving 20% on registration! Simply click here, sign up for the class and enter promo code 'WQAD'.

For more information visit the Cooking with Heart website.

Longtime political journalist Cokie Roberts dies at 75

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NEW YORK (AP) — Cokie Roberts, the daughter of politicians who grew up to cover the family business in Washington for ABC News and NPR over several decades, died Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

ABC broke into network programming to announce her death and pay tribute.

Roberts was the daughter of Hale Boggs, a former House majority leader from Louisiana, and Lindy Boggs, who succeeded her husband in Congress. Roberts worked in radio and at CBS News and PBS before joining ABC News in 1988.

She was a congressional reporter and analyst who co-anchored the Sunday political show “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002.

Roberts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, kept working nearly to the end. She appeared on “This Week” in August, drawing enough concern about her evident weight loss that she released a statement saying “I am doing fine” and was looking forward to covering next year’s election.

She co-wrote a political column for many years with her husband of 53 years, Steven, who survives. They had two children.

Roberts wrote books, focusing on the role of women in history. She wrote two with her husband, one about interfaith families and “From This Day Forward,” an account of their marriage.

Current ABC News political reporter Jonathan Karl recalled being in awe of Roberts when he first started working at the network.

“When I think of politics, I think of Cokie Roberts,” he said.

Her colleagues said she never became cynical or lost her love for politics. She did force NPR to clarify her role as a commentator when she wrote a column in 2016 calling on “the rational wing” of the Republican party to reject Donald Trump as their presidential candidate.

Alex Trebek says he’s undergoing chemo again after cancer setback

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Alex Trebek announced Tuesday he’s undergoing chemotherapy again after a cancer setback.

The “Jeopardy!” host said in an interview with ‘Good Morning America’ that he lost a large amount of weight, and his numbers skyrocketed after finishing his first round of treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me, it doesn’t.

“I was doing so well and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic,” Trebek told “Good Morning America”.

“They said, ‘Good, we’re gonna stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy… I lost about 12 pounds in a week. My numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that’s what I’m doing.”

Trebek was diagnosed in March. In May, his doctors told him he was in “near remission.”

“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memor. Some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”

He just recently returned to ‘Jeopardy,’ which started its 36th season.

Trebek told “Good Morning America” that cancer has taken a toll on his body, causing excruciating pain and fatigue at times. He said he’s also battled depression since his diagnosis.

He also said in the interview that the thought of dying does not frighten him.

“I realize that there is an end in sight for me, just as there is for everyone else,” he said.

“One line that I have used with our staff in recent weeks and months is that when I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon. Hey guys, I’m 79-years-old. I’ve had one hell of a good life and I’ve enjoyed it. The thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me, it doesn’t. Other things do, the affect it will have on my loved ones … it makes me sad. But the thought of myself moving on, hey folks, it comes with the territory.”

He said he does not plan to stop hosting “Jeopardy!”

Dress for Success Quad Cities Raises Nearly $20,000 for Flood Recovery and Relocation Fund

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That’s a lot of $2 items!

On Monday, September 16th, Dress for Success Quad Cities announced the total amount raised from its Relocation Celebration Sale, which took place this past weekend: $19,451!

“It is impossible to list the many people who came together to make this happen but whether you held a drive, donated, sorted, worked a shift, spread the word, or came out to shop – THANK YOU for helping to improve the lives of women in our community!” said the nonprofit’s Facebook Page.

The sale included clothing and accessories that Dress for Success is not able to use for client suitings. A $5 donation at the door was also suggested, which helped raise a record-breaking amount of money.

That money goes towards the organization’s Flood Recovery and Relocation Fund, as they set up their new location in Davenport and continue their mission of empowering women in our area to achieve economic independence.

One lucky couple gets to stay in the real-life Downton Abbey on Airbnb

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(CNN) — Highclere Castle, the British stately home better known to millions as Downton Abbey, is now listed on Airbnb. But don’t start packing your evening wear just year — only two guests will get to experience the home, and there’ll be plenty of competition.

To coincide with the release of the “Downton Abbey” film, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon are giving a couple the chance to “live like a Lord or Lady” by spending one evening in the castle where the hit British TV show was filmed.

The two lucky guests will experience “an exclusive evening drinking cocktails in the Saloon followed by a traditional dinner with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon in the State Dining Room, being waited on by Highclere Castle’s own butler,” the site’s listing says.

“After dinner, coffee will be served in the Library before you retire to one of the Gallery bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom and views over 1,000 acres of rolling parkland.”

But there is one major drawback to living the lives of post-Edwardian era British aristocrats — there’s no WiFi in the guest bedroom.

Home to the earl and countess of Carnarvon, the main house was remodeled by Charles Barry in 1838 to become the imposing building now known to millions.

The estate in the Hampshire countryside is already open to the public on select days each year, with tickets proving hugely popular. Special events and parties also allow guests to experience the house and grounds firsthand.

The Airbnb offering is for the evening of November 26, and will go live to reservation requests on October 1.

But it’ll be a battle to secure your place; those interested “must have a verified Airbnb profile, positive reviews, and be passionate about Downton Abbey,” the listing stipulates.

The wildly popular series made use of the castle’s impressive Jacobethan exterior and several of its 300 rooms.

The castle covers 100,000 square feet and the guests will receive a tour of the site during their stay.

They’ll also benefit from an indoor fireplace and will be able to enjoy the hosts’ nine dogs — but guests themselves are not permitted to bring pets. The listing also stresses that “no parties or events” are allowed — so Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley won’t be coming over for a drink.

The listing will raise money for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, according to its page.

“Downton Abbey” ran between 2010 and 2015, and its highly anticipated motion picture spin-off was released last week.

Cancer survivor becomes first person to swim English Channel four times non-stop

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(CNN) — An American cancer survivor has become the first person to swim across the English Channel four times non-stop.

Sarah Thomas, an open water marathon swimmer from Colorado, completed the record-breaking feat at around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, more than 54 hours after she set off from the British port of Dover.

After landing at Shakespeare Beach on the south coast of the UK, Thomas, 37, said she felt “a little sick,” but had been encouraged to continue by her husband and team, according to the UK’s Press Association. She was pictured celebrating her achievement with chocolates and champagne on the beach.

“I was really just pretty numb, there were a lot of people to meet me and wish me well, and that was really nice of them, but I feel just mostly stunned right now; I just can’t believe that we did it,” she said in a video clip from a forthcoming documentary posted on the BBC website.

Thomas said that the hardest part of the challenge was dealing with the salt water, adding that she was “losing her voice.”

Despite the length of the swim, Thomas said that she “knew what to expect from the currents and the weather and the cold,” and was “very prepared for the amount of time” she was going to be in the water.

Thomas’ achievement comes just one year after she completed treatment for breast cancer. Writing on Facebook before the challenge, she admitted to being “scared” and said that the Channel can do “a lot of crazy things.”

“I’ve been waiting for this swim for over two years now and have fought so hard to get here,” she wrote. “Am I 100%? No. But I’m the best that I can be right now, with what I’ve been through, with more fire and fight than ever.”

“The hype leading up to this swim has been a little unnerving. I hope I don’t let you all down after all this! Just turn the volume up loud for me on that last lap, I’ll need all the help I can get.”

She dedicated her swim to “all the survivors out there” and for all those starting their “cancer journey.”

“This is for those of us who have prayed for our lives, who have wondered with despair about what comes next, and have battled through pain and fear to overcome,” she wrote.

“This is for our family and friends who held us in their arms and provided the strength and support we needed in the hardest times.”“This is for our family and friends who held us in their arms and provided the strength and support we needed in the hardest times.”

Thomas’ achievement has drawn praise from leading figures in the swimming world and beyond. Lewis Pugh, an endurance swimmer who is best known for undertaking the first swim across the North Pole, described her as “extraordinary, amazing, super-human.”

“Just when we think we’ve reached the limit of human endurance, someone shatters the records,” he wrote on Twitter. “Huge congratulations to Sarah Thomas on swimming the English Channel 4x continuously.”

He added: “Sarah Thomas has overcome 5 major hurdles to become the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop: 1. The cold. 2. Jellyfish. 3. Sheer exhaustion. 4. Keeping her mind going. 5. Believing that it was possible.”

Matthew Pinsent, a retired British rower who won four consecutive Olympic gold medals, added: “Fantastic endurance. Begs the question — what have you/I been doing the last 50 hours? Not swimming the Channel four time back to back to back to back! Brava Sarah Thomas.”

During the swim, Thomas relied on a diet of protein recovery drinks filled with electrolytes and caffeine, she told the BBC. She also admitted to being stung in the face by a jellyfish during her crossings.

Thomas’ planned route was around 80 miles in length, but she ended up swimming more than 130 miles after being pulled off course by strong currents.

Tuesday’s feat is not the first time Thomas has completed a Channel crossing; she first swam across the world’s busiest shipping route in 2012, completing the challenge in 11 hours 22 minutes.

Documenting the feat

Thomas’ historic achievement is set to be featured in the upcoming documentary “The Other Side” made by filmmaker Jon Washer.

Washer told CNN that he met Thomas through marathon swimmer Elaine Howley. “Elaine, one of Sarah’s crew members, is a good friend of mine and introduced me to Sarah,” he said.

“We just knew her story needed to be told and began producing The Other Side via a successful crowd-funding campaign. And here we are.”

He said that filming the crossing for the last 60 hours “was a nightmare.”

“But Sarah is so tough and inspirational, there was just no room for failure on my part. And we’re not anywhere close to finished,” he said.


Walk for a Cause at the 2019 Relay for Life of the Quad Cities

WQAD News -

There are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors nationwide. By taking a step, you can help that number grow.

Saturday, September 21st is the 2019 Relay for Life of the Quad Cities. It takes place from 4-9pm at Bettendorf High School. The event is free and open to the public. All you have to do is sign up, take some laps around the track, and join hundreds of people in the Quad Cities raise money for the American Cancer Society.

“Money raised goes to support those battling cancer by helping to provide education, services – such as rides to treatment or lodging – and also goes to research for a cure,” explained Miranda Dresing, Event Lead.

The event includes a Survivor Ceremony at 6pm and a Luminaria Ceremony at 8pm. There will also be a silent auction, baked goods for sale from Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie, a DJ/live entertainment, and food for sale from the Meatheads Meat Market Food Truck.

Iowa State fan turns beer money sign into viral fundraiser for children’s hospital

WQAD News -

ALTOONA, Iowa - Each Saturday in the fall, college football fans turn millions of eyes to College GameDay, and Saturday in Ames, Iowa, was no exception.

As a joke, an Iowa State fan brought a sign to College GameDay asking for beer money to be sent to his Venmo account. He never expected to receive thousands of dollars. Instead of using that money for beer, he is using it to help kids fighting for their lives in Iowa City.

"It was electric," 24-year-old Carson King told WHO.  "Just non-stop energy. People singing, dancing and having a good time the entire time."

King lives in Altoona, went to school at Iowa State and arrived for the 3 p.m.  game at 5:30 a.m. Saturday. "It was a lifetime dream of ours to go to GameDay," he said.

In the slim event he made it on television, King also made a sign requesting beer money be sent to his Venmo account.  The sign read, "Busch Light needs replenished. Venmo Carson-King-25."

"I just thought as a joke, maybe I could make a sign asking for money to get some Busch Light.  You know, buy some lattes," said King.  He added, "My mom was like 'this is going to be a proud mom moment. My son is going to be begging for money for beer on national television.'"

"I had people from Texas, Idaho, California, Massachusetts, all over.  A lot of Clemson people donated. I guess they like Busch Light, too."

Then King and the sign found their moment in prime position on national TV.  King said, "I looked down at my phone. My friend kept asking 'Hey man, who keeps texting you?' and I looked down and I had about $400 on my Venmo account."  Moments later it reached $600 and then $1,000.  "I had people from Texas, Idaho, California, Massachusetts, all over.  A lot of Clemson people donated. I guess they like Busch Light, too."

King called his parents and they came up with a plan.  Keep enough for a case of Busch Light and send the rest to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

"Their hospital does great things for the state of Iowa. Both for Iowa State and the University of Iowa.  The wave is a huge thing now. Those kids are fighters and they deserve any chance they can get," said King.

A social media post informing the public of the new idea only increased donations into Monday.  "It was over $5,700 and people are still donating and sharing the post and all that fun stuff. They are anywhere from 25 cents to one person donating $300 on Monday," said King.

The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry can divide even the closest families.  King hopes his donation can help families with sick kids stay together a little longer.

"It’s just all hatred there, but all aside, the communities of Iowa all support each other. When people say 'Iowa nice,' they really mean it," King said.

The donations are now around $6,000.  King is keeping his account open until the end of the month when he plans to donate the money in person.


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