The latest local news

Family devastated after dog put down by mistake at North Carolina animal shelter

WQAD News -

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. - A North Carolina family is still trying to figure out how their dog was accidentally put down over the weekend.

“Oh she was devastated. My children were devastated," Joey Varker told WGHP.

Their dog Blaze bit a younger family member last week. Although the injury was minor, they sent the dog away to the Davidson County Animal Shelter for a 10-day quarantine. The family received a document from the shelter, showing they were approved to get their dog back after the quarantine.

They planned to pick him up on Friday.

“We followed procedure," Varker said.

Varker's wife stopped by the shelter on Tuesday to check on Blaze but shelter workers couldn't find him.

“When she got to the animal shelter, they showed her a picture of a completely different dog and of course my wife said, 'That's not my dog,'" he said.

That's when she found out someone euthanized Blaze, just days after the dog got to the shelter.

“We were told that the cleaning crew put our dog in the wrong kennel and that's how it got confused," Varker said.

“It was a unfortunate incident and a mistake was made," said Jeb Hanner, the county manager.

Hanner said this is the first time something like this has happened since they took over the Davidson County Animal Shelter four years ago.

“Normally there's a process they go through. They get taken in, a picture made and all of that. And this was in between that stage, so we are taking extra precautions to double check that going in so that this doesn't happen again," Hanner said.

County officials said they feel for this family and are working to rectify the situation.

“We were offered any dog at the animal shelter. We were also offered $300 by the county manager, which I think is kind of insulting," Varker said.

Varker said nothing can replace the loss of their beloved dog.

“I just want answers and I want it to be prevented from happening again," he said.

The county manager added that the family could've quarantined the dog at home if they provided proof of vaccinations. Varker said they were never given that option and it's no excuse for what happened to their dog.

YOUR MONEY with Mark: US economy added only 75,000 jobs in May

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(CNN) — The US economy added only 75,000 jobs in May, a surprisingly low number that was well below what experts had predicted.

The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, however, meaning that joblessness is still hovering near a half-century low.

The report supports suspicions that the labor market is finally slowing down from its blistering pace in 2018, with revisions to the past two months subtracting 75,000 jobs. Employers have added 164,000 jobs per month on average in 2019, compared with 223,000 jobs per month last year.

International trade tensions are fueling concerns that the high-flying economy may be in for a fall. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico following additional tariffs on China, could send the global economy toward a recession, some economists warn. Those jitters could explain why hiring has been volatile over the last several months.

“That could be a sign of going through some kind of transition here,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at the recruiting software company iCIMS. “We’re dancing on the edge of the wall, and there’s only so long you can dancer before you tip over.”

Economists had expected 185,000 jobs added in May, with some citing the hiring of potentially tens of thousands of workers for the decennial Census. Historically, the Census Bureau has staffed up in early summer, but the federal government (excluding the Postal Service) only added 1,400 jobs.

The labor force participation rate remained the same and the share of people who can’t find enough hours or stopped looking for work decreased to 7.1%, nearing the lowest level on record, 6.8% in October 2000. That could be evidence that employers are converting part-time staff to full time, as the economy nears full employment after 104 months of continuous job creation.

However, wage growth also decelerated slightly, with average hourly earnings rising 3.1% from a year earlier, down from a 3.2% rate in April. A lack of wage pressure indicates that employers aren’t as desperate for workers as they often say they are.

Health care and professional and business services were singular bright spots in the report, and have added nearly 900,000 jobs over the past year between them.

But construction, mining and manufacturing showed little change from April. Manufacturing has been particularly weak over the past several months, and the goods-producing side of the economy has declined steadily since the middle of 2018, while the larger service sector continues to add jobs.

The weak report set off a fury of speculation among Wall Street analysts over whether the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at one of its upcoming meetings to keep the economy on an even keel.

“We still think Fed officials will want to see evidence of more sustained weakness before taking action,” wrote Capital Economics senior US economist Andrew Hunter in a note to clients. “But we are increasingly convinced that the Fed will begin cutting interest rates later this year.”

Investment Advisor Mark Grywacheski digs into the numbers Monday, June 17. He explains whether or not he’s worried and why the annual wage growth number for May was just 3.1%. Your Money with Mark Grywacheski airs between 5 and 5:30 a.m. every Monday. To live stream our newscast, click here. 

Donahue flower farm waits for flowers to bloom amid difficult weather

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DONAHUE, Iowa-- Every year, Cathy Lafrenz says people are ready to come out to her countryside garden and pick flowers for their own bouquets. For nearly two decades, she and her husband Cliff have welcomed visitors to Miss Effie's Country Flowers and Garden Stuff. But this year, the garden isn't quite as colorful as normal.

"When you look at this, this is green and it should be a blaze of color," Cathy says. "More things will be blooming as we go on but it's still a shortage."

Flooding stopped Cathy and Cliff from getting out the shovels and seeds to plant. Now, cooler temps are stopping the flowers from growing and blooming on time.

"Every day without flowers and the customers don't have an opportunity to buy, or the weather isn't good, is a day without income," she says. "And you really never make up that income again."

But the Lafrenzs are hopeful the weather will make a turn for the better, with some sunny, warm days.

"We'll be okay," Cathy says. "We'll keep growing flowers. We'll have them this year."

The majority of flowers should be in bloom by the week of June 25. In the meantime, there are still fresh eggs and honey to be bought Thursday through Sunday.

Mississippi boy accidentally shoots, kills 12-year-old sister while playing with gun

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HORN LAKE, Miss. — A Mississippi family is grieving over another child lost to an accidental shooting. In fact, it's the fifth accidental shooting involving a child in the Mid-South since May 1, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which tracks these type of accidents.

Horn Lake Police confirmed a 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his sister, also 12, on Monday. The shooting happened inside of a home on Conrail Circle.

"Her brother, who's also approximately 12 years old, had been playing with a gun and a round was fired. It went through his hand and hit his sister," Deputy Chief Scott Brown said.

A neighbor who lives across the street told WREG she knows the family, including the little girl who died. The neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, says they have several children, and usually an older teenage sibling watches them. She said she assumed that was the case Monday.

Police said the kids were inside the home without any adults when the incident happened.

"You have working parents in the area. You have parents that have to work long hours to provide and make it for their children," the neighbor said.

She said she didn't want to shame the grieving parents, but hopes this is a lesson for others.

"If you have little ones in the home that are mobile, put (the firearms) away in a safe or get a gun lock. Keep the guns out of the kids' reach."

Police haven’t said who the gun belongs to and say they haven’t ruled out charges, though they say they won’t release the victim’s name out of respect for the family.

Grandparents thwart man’s attempt to abduct 6-year-old from Indiana apartment, police say

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LEBANON, Ind. – Police arrested a man accused of trying to take a little girl from her grandparents' Indiana apartment.

In June of 2019, 37-year-old Benjamin Dillon broke busted through the front door and a bedroom door inside the apartment and threatened to take the girl, claiming she was his daughter, Lebanon police said.

Police said the 6-year-old girl and her grandmother were sleeping in a back bedroom when he forced his way in.

“I was sound asleep in my bedroom and this guy came kicking in and said, 'You have my daughter,'” recalled grandmother Patty Roth.

Benjamin Dillon

“I was nervous, very nervous. I was shaking so bad,” said Roth.

Roth told WXIN Dillon was determined to take her granddaughter, but her husband got Dillon out of their apartment. When police showed up, Dillon became aggressive. According to the police report, he threatened officers and ended up fighting them. Officers used a Taser multiple times.

“I don’t understand why he picked our apartment. I’ll never figure that one out,” said Roth.

The girl’s grandparents believe Dillon was on drugs.  Court records show Dillon has been in trouble before, already arrested twice so far this year on drug charges.

“I hope he gets the help he needs and I hope he gets himself back on his feet,” said Roth.

The 6-year-old girl told police she wasn’t hurt, just scared.  The girl’s grandmother warned the stranger to stay away from her family and her home.

“I wouldn’t want him walking back in my apartment again. He will regret it the next time,” she said.

Dillon faces a long list of charges including burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, and intimidation.

Tennessee mother finds man living in crawlspace above 14-year-old daughter’s closet

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MT. JULIET, Tenn. – Police officers arrested a man who they say was secretly living in a Mt. Juliet family’s attic, according to WTVF. But he didn’t stop there, he was arrested a second time when he returned more than a week later.

A mother returned home last weekend and found a stranger standing at the top of the stairs in the home.

She yelled for him to get out of the house and called police, but that’s when he ran into her daughter’s bedroom.

He hid in an attic space in the daughter’s bedroom, refusing to come out. Officers had to crawl in after him to pull him out of the confined space.

Matthew C. Castro was charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and was warned not to have contact with the daughter. (Mt. Juliet Police Department)

He was later identified as Matthew C. Castro, a man who’d been involved with the woman’s minor daughter.

Police say he had been living in the attic space and coming down at night when she was in her room and had locked her bedroom door.

He was charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and was warned not to have contact with the daughter.

But more than a week later, a neighbor called police when they saw him walking toward the house. Officers found him after an extensive search of the home, he was found hiding in the attic.

Officers used a taser to get him out of the attic and into custody. He was given additional charges of trespassing, unlawfully entering a home, and violating a protection order.

Scammers reroute business phone lines after asking to make an emergency phone call

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT ) -- DECATUR, Ala. -- A team of scammers has hit several pizza business locations in the Tennessee Valley, posing as someone who walks into the store and asks to use the phone to make an emergency call.

Marco's Pizza in Decatur and Madison have been victims of this scam in the past week.

Shortly after the unknown scammer leaves, the business realizes the phones aren't ringing-- definitely strange for the usual dinner rush.

When management called the phone company, they learned that their phone line had been rerouted to an untraceable number.

"One of our stores was compromised for a short period of time," explained Jerry Schoo, the owner of Marco's in Decatur. "They did get a couple of customers to speak to. They placed orders with the scammers, the scammers got their credit card information."

Police are looking for the scammers responsible.

How it works: When the scammer gets a hold of the phone, they dial a special number to reroute calls. So, when future customers call to make an order, the scammers pose as the business and collect credit card information.

"You know, we think the best out of people, and things like that happen," Schoo said.

As soon as Marco's was aware of the situation they made sure their customers were both financially reimbursed and protected. The company has also taken steps with the phone company to prevent this from happening in the future, but they want to warn other businesses.

"I've got several people that have been in this industry for a long time, and they've never seen it either," Schoo said. "It's a new one on all of us."

Marco's Pizza's recommendation to similar businesses-- and their new plan moving forward-- is that if any non-employee needs to use the phone, management will get involved and will insert the phone number into the phone for that person. That way a special code can't be used to potentially compromise the phone system.

WHNT News 19 has been told that this scam has been attempted at pizza locations in both north Alabama and central Tennessee. Businesses can call their phone service provider to make sure their phones aren't vulnerable.

India hopes to become fourth country on the moon in September

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(CNN) — India’s space agency says it will make the country’s first landing on the surface of the moon in September this year.

The country’s latest lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, which means “Moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, is to lift off in mid-July.

The mission will make India the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon, adding its name to a long list of recent achievements in space exploration. In the past 10 years, the Indian space agency has launched multiple missions into space to gain a better understanding of Mars and the moon.

“The last 15 minutes to the landing are going to be the most terrifying moments for us,” said Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Wednesday at a news conference.

Related: NASA orbiter spots ‘Star Trek’ symbol on Mars

Chandrayaan-1, India’s maiden lunar mission, was responsible for discovering water molecules on the surface of the moon, which it orbited but did not land on. The Mars Orbiter Mission is currently orbiting the planet Mars and collecting data as it moves.

The spacecraft will weigh 3.8 tons and carry 13 payloads and will take off from Sriharikota in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The latest mission has three elements — lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed by ISRO. The rover enclosed within the entire apparatus will separate from the orbiter and make a soft landing on the surface of the moon. The rover will be collecting samples from the lunar surface for scientific experiments.

“The lander will carry out experiments with instruments to predict or identify lunar seismic activity,” said Sivan.

In 2017, India famously launched a record 104 satellites in one mission while operating on a low-cost budget. Earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India had shot down one of its own satellites in what it claimed was an anti-satellite test, making it one of four countries to have achieved that feat.

Modi said that operation, called Mission Shakti — which stands for “power” in Hindi — would defend the country’s interests in space. The foreign ministry said that India had “no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space.”

India has also set its sights on a manned mission into space by 2022 at a cost of 100 billion rupees, or $1.4 billion.

“The mission will be capable of carrying three Indian astronauts and will orbit the Earth for seven days,” said Sivan at the announcement of the mission in January.

The United States, China and the former Soviet Union are the only countries to date to have made soft landings on the moon, while only the US has carried out successful manned missions.

Read More: You can see Jupiter and its largest moons with just your binoculars this month

An independent space station

Sivan also announced at the press conference Thursday that India was planning to set up an independent space station by 2030.

The details of the ambitious project will be submitted to the Indian government once “Gaganyaan”, the manned space mission, is successfully completed.

“We want our space station to be very small and it’ll will be used to carry out microgravity experiments,” Sivan said, adding it will be “100% indigenous.”

Currently, the only space station available for expedition crews is the International Space Station (ISS) which several countries share.

According to the ISRO chairman, India’s planned space station will weigh 20 tonnes and can accommodate astronauts for 15 to 20 days.

Two tankers struck in apparent attack in Gulf of Oman

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(CNN) -- Two tankers were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, less than a month after four other ships were struck in the region.

The ships -- one carrying oil and the other transporting a cargo of chemicals -- were struck in international waters near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. All crew members were evacuated and were safe, according to the owners of the two ships.

The vessels were hit "at or below the waterline, in close proximity to the engine room," said the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko). "These appeared to be well-planned and coordinated" attacks.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks, saying the assessment was based on intelligence but offered no evidence to support his claim.

Jonathan Cohen, acting US ambassador to the United Nations, said he echoed Pompeo's comments in a private meeting of the UN Security Council, describing the attack as "another example of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region."

The security council declined to make any formal reaction Thursday.

Kuwait's UN Ambassador, Mansour al-Otaibi, said his country was pleased the topic was discussed. He said no country produced any evidence that might point the finger at those responsible.

What we know about the attack

The crew of USS Bainbridge reported they saw an unexploded limpet mine on the side of one of the ships, according to a US defense official familiar with the matter. A limpet mine is a type of mine attached to the hull using magnets.

More US Navy ships are expected to head to the area in the coming hours for security, patrolling, helping mariners get back to port and potentially assist in arranging for tankers to be towed to port, the source said. that is where

Limpet mines were also suspected to have been used in the May attack on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE concluded that a "state actor" is the most likely culprit and chemical analysis of the debris recovered in May revealed "it was highly likely that limpet mines were deployed."

The Norwegian Maritime Agency said that three explosions were reported on board the Marshall Islands-flagged "Front Altair" oil tanker, which is owned by the Bermuda-based Norwegian company Frontline. The company said that a fire broke out after an explosion and that the cause of the blast was unclear.

A second vessel, the Japanese-owned chemical tanker, "Kokura Courageous" was "attacked" twice "with some sort of shell" around 6 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET Wednesday), the ship's co-manager, Michio Yuube, said.

The first shot hit the tanker above the sea level and the ship caught fire briefly before it was extinguished, he said. Yuube said that the incident happened off the Emirati port of Fujairah, near the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel was carrying a shipment of methanol, he said.

All 21 Philippine crew members were evacuated Yuube added. The ship's Singapore-based management company, BSM, said that a sailor had been injured and that the vessel had suffered damage to its hull.

In May, four oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, an incident that the US suspected was the responsibility of Iran.

Tehran denied any involvement in the earlier attacks. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said "suspicious doesn't begin to describe" this latest incident.

Japan connections

The Japanese government said both tankers were carrying "Japan-related" cargo. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently on a visit to Iran.

The 44 sailors and crew members of the two ships affected by the incident were rescued by Iran's Navy and taken to the Iranian Island of Jask, according to Iran state-run news agency IRNA, citing Iranian informed sources.

The report claimed the ships were "targeted" but did not detail by whom, or what.

The US government said in a tweet the US Navy is providing assistance in the area.

According to a US defense official, the USS Bainbridge was nearby when the incident happened and a tug ferried crew members of the "Kokuka Courageous" to it.

The official told CNN that they are still trying to determine the cause of the incident and had not ruled out the idea that the ships might have hit a mine in the water, or were attacked by a projectile.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the incident was of "deep concern."

"Facts must be established, and responsibilities clarified. If there is something the world cannot afford, it is a major confrontation in the Gulf region," he said.

'Sabotage attack'

Officials are continuing to investigate the cause of the incident, which follows the attacks on four oil tankers in the United Arab Emirates' port of Fujairah in May.

Initial findings from an international investigation on the attack last month, concluded that a "state actor" was the most likely culprit.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway told the UN Security Council last week that there are "strong indications that last month's attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out with significant operational capacity."

Of the four commercial ships targeted in the May 12 attack, one was flying a UAE flag, two were tankers owned by Saudi Arabia, and the fourth was a Norwegian tanker.

The four ships were targeted near the strategic Fujairah port, in what the UAE described as a "sabotage attack."

US national security adviser John Bolton has blamed Iran for the attack, without offering evidence that Tehran was responsible. "I think it is clear these (attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran," Bolton told reporters during a visit to Abu Dhabi in late May.

Intertanko said the apparent attack "unacceptably threatens the lives of innocent seafarers, the fragile environment of the region and the economies of the world."

'Limpet mines'

In a printed statement describing the conclusions, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway said the attacks required trained divers, explosive charges placed under the waterline, near the engines, so as to not sink the ships or detonate their cargoes, which indicated a knowledge of the design of the targeted ships.

The countries say rapid withdrawal of the plotters by fast boats indicated understanding of the geographic area.

Sarah Sanders leaving White House post after fraught tenure

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month, capping a tumultuous tenure as the President’s chief spokeswoman in which she largely redefined the position.

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Sanders will return to her home state of Arkansas and floated the possibility of a gubernatorial run for the White House press secretary.

Speaking at an event shortly after the announcement, Sanders called her role “the honor of a lifetime” and an experience she “will treasure forever.”

“I couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to serve my country and particularly to work for this President,” Sanders said after Trump asked her to join him at the lectern. “I’ve loved every minute — even the hard minutes.”

Trump praised Sanders as a “warrior” and “special person” during the afternoon event and reiterated his suggestion that she run for governor of Arkansas.

Sanders chose her date of departure “well in advance” of Thursday’s announcement, one White House official told CNN’s Jim Acosta.

In private conversations in recent weeks, Sanders has floated running for Arkansas governor, according to two people familiar with the talks. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was re-elected just last year, so unless he steps down early — or is appointed to something — the governor’s office in Little Rock isn’t open until January 2023.

She has told colleagues and friends she thinks running for office would be a good next move for her, instead of taking a television job upon her departure.

Sanders’ tenure also marked a dramatic slide away from the traditional public-facing role of the White House press secretary.

Her resignation came on the 94th consecutive day without a White House briefing, the longest stretch of time without a briefing since briefings became a daily, televised occurrence more than two decades ago. In the past 300 days, only eight briefings were held, according to CNN’s tally.

But while Sanders stepped away from the White House briefing room podium, she remained a reliable public face of the administration on television networks, defending the President through the controversies that frequently engulfed his administration and amidst the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In that role, Sanders stood by Trump on nearly every front, from Trump’s attacks on the press and his hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with him to the administration’s zero-tolerance family separation at the border and his controversial comments about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Trump has denied the affairs.

Sanders public-facing role and her close relationship with Trump also led her behind closed doors, where she sat for an interview with Mueller’s investigators.

In that interview, Sanders admitted she provided reporters with baseless information about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, according to the Mueller report, conceding she had no basis for claiming that “countless members of the FBI” had lost faith in Comey.

“She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything,” the Mueller report stated.

Trump and Sanders developed a close relationship after one of his closest confidants, then-White House communications director Hope Hicks, left the West Wing last February. The President, who was the one that recommended Sanders stop the daily press briefings, regularly praised her in private, bragging to others about how she defended him in television appearances and scuffled with the press.

Her colleagues often compared their relationship to Trump’s bond with Hicks, noting that while Sanders wasn’t considered a family member like Hicks was, she was the next closest thing.

Hay shortage, price surge hit Scott County farmers

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DAVENPORT, Iowa — The wet weather this spring has put hay farming way behind schedule and it’s impacting supply and prices.

Dale Scherer, owner of Scherer Farms in North Davenport, has only been able to do a 88 acres, less than a third of his 300 acres of alfalfa and grass fields.

“On a normal year, we’d be pretty much done with first cutting at this point,” he said. Scherer cuts hay about five times a year, he added. “It’ll still take me, with the weather conditions right now, two to three weeks to get the rest of the 200 acres done. On some of the fields I might be a month behind where I’m actually should be.”

The delay is impacting quality as the grass and alfalfa has been left to mature longer. It’s also impacting quantity supplied.

“Everybody has kind of been running out of hay in last couple of weeks because normally they would have hay made already. Because we haven’t — nobody has — we’ve used up our supply.”

Scherer uses most of the hay his farm produces on the farm, where his family raises cattle for Scherer’s Custom Meats business and operates a horse stable, Lost Grove Stables. He sells the rest locally, in Scott County. He said he has seen prices surge in recent weeks.

“Record high prices,” he said. “It has set new records around this area as far as hay prices. I’ve seen the square bales go as high as $13 a bale here locally. I’ve seen round bales, $150-175 a piece here locally.”

“Normally, this time of year, the square bales are gonna be in the $3.5 to $5 dollar range. The big round bales would be about $45-60 dollars a piece.”

Instead of being able to sell some of their hay as they’ve done in previous years, the Scherers had to eat the higher price and buy.

“I’ve run out of hay at the horsebarn, and we’ve had to purchase hay for my own horse barn – at high prices.

To cut hay, farmers need three days of consecutive dry days, for cutting, drying, then baling. Scherer said his family is making up for shorter dry spells by working harder and faster when the weather is good.

“When you get an opening to make a little bit of hay, you gotta be really aggressive and get out there,” he said.

The Scherer family has been hit on multiple fronts. Their custom meats are sold at the Farmers Market in downtown Davenport. Sales of their meat products took a hit when the market had to move away from the riverfront.

Changing your meat-eating habits could mean a longer life, study suggests

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Mounting evidence continues to suggest eating too much red meat — such as bacon and hot dogs — is linked with health problems.

A new study finds that changes in your red-meat-eating habits can be tied to your risk of early death. An increase in red meat consumption of at least half a serving per day was linked with a 10% higher risk of early death in the study, published in the medical journal BMJ Wednesday.

Replacing red meat with other protein sources may help you live longer, the study found.

“The data suggest that replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as poultry, fish, nuts, legumes and whole grains and even vegetables, can reduce the risk of premature death,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was senior author of the study.

“What we found is that increasing the consumption of red meat is associated with higher mortality risk, and the risk is particularly high for people who increased their consumption of processed red meat,” he said.

‘This is where nutrition research gets exciting’

The study involved data on the eating habits and mortality risk of 53,553 women and 27,916 men in the United States between 1986 and 2010.

The data, which came from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, tracked how much red meat and other foods each adult ate daily every four years using self-reported questionnaires, and then calculated change in eating habits over time.

Deaths from any cause in the data were confirmed using state records and the national death index, among other sources.

After analyzing the diet and death data, the researchers found within eight years, an increase of at least half a serving per day of processed and unprocessed red meat was associated with 13% and 9% higher risk of early death, respectively.

A decrease in eating red meats and an increase in eating whole grains, vegetables or other protein sources was associated with a lower risk of death over eight years, the researchers found.

“When people reduce their red meat consumption and eat other protein sources — and also plant-based foods — instead, they have lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality,” Hu said.

The study provides “valuable and informative” data regarding the associations of red meat with poor health outcomes, said Dr. Heather Fields, an internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, who was not involved in the research.

“We’ve also seen that replacing red and processed meats with other protein sources has been associated with decreased risk of mortality in this study and in past studies,” Fields said.

“Keeping these findings in mind, we can now shift focus on which foods we can add to the diet to improve longevity and decrease risk of chronic diseases,” she said. “In addition, how can we prepare these foods to optimize nutrient intake while improving palatability and make healthy eating more enjoyable? This is where nutrition research gets exciting.”

Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, noted the data in the study is more than 20 years old and said it might not be representative of eating habits today. “Beef’s high-quality protein, iron, and zinc strengthen a balanced diet and complement the nutrients found in plant foods.”

The study had some limitations, including that the dietary data was self-reported and the participants were mainly registered nurses and health professionals. More research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a more diverse group of people.

The study also pointed to an association between increasing eating red meat and subsequent mortality risk, but did not necessarily find causality. More research is needed to determine a causal relationship.

However, Hu said previous research has shown that higher amounts of saturated fat, heme iron, preservatives and other components in meat may contribute to adverse health outcomes.

Separate studies have also linked red meat to unfavorable changes in the gut microbiome, which is the ecosystem of bacteria and microbes in your gut.

Turning a spotlight on red meat

“The lower or lack of association between red meat intake and mortality in other countries or areas of the world indicates that red meat may contribute to mortality in the United States by providing a high protein content but also because it may contain other factors that contribute to damage,” said Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Longevity Institute, who was not involved in the study.

He went on to question the concentration of hormones or antibiotics in red meat in the United States compared with other countries, such as Japan or those in Europe.

“The reduced mortality when red meat is replaced with fish is consistent with this possibility since they contain generally similar levels of proteins,” he said, suggesting the content of red meat in the United States might be a factor driving the mortality link.

‘Counting On’ grandmother Mary Duggar dies after falling into pool

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(CNN) — Mary Duggar, the grandmother of the 19 Duggar children of TLC’s “Counting On,” died of an accidental drowning after she fell into a pool at her home in Arkansas on Sunday.

She was 78.

Duggar slipped and fell into the pool and drowned, Washington County coroner Roger Morris told CNN. Her daughter Deanna discovered her body and alerted authorities, who pronounced her dead at the scene.

Morris said Duggar experienced a “few health issues” before her death.

The family shared the news of her passing on their official Facebook page.

Duggar is survived by two children, 21 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, the family said. She was married to Jimmy Lee Duggar for 48 years until his death in 2009.

Granddaughter Jana said in an Instagram post she’d attended church with Duggar earlier that morning.

“Later that afternoon, she went to meet Him face to face! I’d say that’s probably how she would’ve chosen to finish out the day if she got to pick.”

On her blog, granddaughter Jill Dillard remembered Duggar as an “amazing working mom and grandma” who never retired as a real estate broker.

TLC expressed “deepest sympathies” to the Duggar family.

NASA orbiter spots ‘Star Trek’ symbol on Mars

WQAD News -

It may be time to hail Starfleet and see whether they’ve set up a base on Mars.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured an image of a strange chevron on the Martian surface that looks similar to the symbol for “Star Trek’s” Starfleet, an organization of space exploration, diplomacy, research, defense and peacekeeping.

But how did it end up on the Red Planet?

The shapes were found in the southeast Hellas Planitia region of Mars, created by wind, lava and dunes. At some point in Martian history, crescent-shaped dunes were in the area. An eruption sent lava spilling out, moving around the dunes but not covering them. As the lava cooled, the dunes pointed up like islands.

But they were still dunes, so the wind could move them, and the dunes essentially migrated. Their footprints, called “dune casts,” were left behind in the lava field.

So, no, it’s not an alien habitat or Starfleet base — unless the United Federation of Planets has some explaining to do.

Chicago 6-year-old calls 911 after mother passes out, stops breathing

WQAD News -

CHICAGO — A 6-year-old girl is being called a hero after she called 911 when her mother passed out and stopped breathing.

Simbi Jibril, a first grade student at Powell Elementary School, was in the kitchen with her mother, Shani Davis, Wednesday and asked her mom to make her noodles. Her mother said her chest started hurting once she started making the food. She then fell to the ground.

Davis went to the hospital earlier in the day for a muscle relaxer injection for painful back spasms. She was discharged; four hours later she passed out.

Her 6-year-old knew exactly what to do. She called first responders and told them what was wrong.

“They told me to see if she's breathing and I pushed her stomach to see if she was actually breathing and she wasn’t,” she said.

In those scary few minutes, Simbi said the dispatcher told her to keep pressing on her mom's chest — and she started breathing again. Simbi then gave all the information to help paramedics get to her mom.

“Our address is so long. I didn't think she remember the address the apartment number. They said she knew the bell code for them to buzz themselves in,” Davis said.

The two live on the 19th floor of an apartment complex. Once she got off the elevator, Simbi opened the door for the EMTs. She also went to grab her mom’s keys and ID from her purse.

“…my daughter did all of this I was so shocked but I'm so proud of her,” Davis said.

Simbi has about one week left of school and her principal said she plans to have Simbi speak to other students, and remind them how to call 911 for help.

Davis said doctors told her she may have passed out because of a reaction from the muscle injection and being dehydrated. She is expected to be OK.

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