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Iowa Sen. Ernst says she turned down Trump during VP search

WQAD News -

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sen. Joni Ernst says she turned down President Donald Trump after interviewing to be his running mate, according to a court filing that describes an “extremely painful journey” that led to her divorce from a man she alleges was abusive.

Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, wrote in an affidavit for her divorce proceeding that after Trump interviewed her in 2016 to be his vice president, “I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn’t the right thing for me or my family.” The filing doesn’t explicitly say whether Trump asked her to join the ticket.

Trump interviewed Ernst at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2016 as he was considering potential running mates. Ernst told reporters later that she made clear she was interested in continuing to serve Iowa in the Senate, to which she was elected in 2014 after serving as a state senator and county official. Trump eventually chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is now vice president.

Ernst’s office, the White House and the Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ernst called her withdrawal from consideration a sacrifice for the good of the relationship with her husband Gail, a retired Army Airborne Ranger who she said wasn’t supportive of her fast-rising political career.

“I continued to make sacrifices and not soar higher out of concern for Gail and our family,” Ernst wrote in the affidavit in October. “Meanwhile, he hated any successes I had, and would belittle me and get angary any time I achieved a goal.”

The filing and several others were made public earlier this month, in accordance with court rules for Iowa family law cases, after Joni and Gail Ernst settled their previously contentious divorce. The couple had been married 26 years and have one adult daughter together.

A lawyer for Joni Ernst filed an emergency motion Monday seeking to seal some of the files after their existence was first reported by Cityview, a Des Moines alternative newspaper. A judge granted the request on Tuesday, which means the public can no longer access the affidavit.

Ernst filed the affidavit in asking the court to reject Gail Ernst’s request that she be required to make monthly alimony payments. She said that she had supported Gail Ernst during his military career, in which they moved several times before settling in Ernst’s hometown of Red Oak, Iowa, but that he hadn’t returned the favor when she entered politics.

“Although Gail seems to think he can live off my salary for the rest of his life, he is doing everything he can to destroy me and ruin my chances for re-election, which would end the gravy train he apparently plans to ride,” she wrote.

Ernst, 48, recently indicated that she will run for a second six-year Senate term in 2020. She alleged that her husband promised to divorce her if she did so — an allegation he denied.

Gail Ernst, 65, filed for divorce in August. In requesting alimony, he noted that he was retired and partially disabled from his military service, saying that his “standard of living” shouldn’t suffer from the split. Joni Ernst’s $174,000 salary as a senator was the couple’s primary income.

The settlement, signed in December and accepted by a judge earlier this month, doesn’t require either side to pay alimony. It granted Joni Ernst the couple’s condominium in Washington, D.C., and Gail Ernst their home in Red Oak.

Before the agreement, both parties made explosive allegations against each other.

Joni Ernst alleged that Gail Ernst had physically abused her following an argument while she was serving as Montgomery County auditor in the 2000s. She wrote that she told the county’s victim advocate, who suggested she seek medical treatment for her throat and head. But she said she was embarrassed and humiliated and kept the abuse quiet, even during marriage counseling sessions.

Ernst said that she was devastated after discovering email messages between her husband and another woman last summer.

“I started a downward spiral of not sleeping and eating and I rapidly lost 17 pounds about 13 percent of my body weight. My staff had to cancel two days of my appointments because I couldn’t function,” she wrote.

Gail Ernst said that he never had an affair and alleges in one filing that she was the one who was unfaithful. He accused Joni Ernst of exhibiting “very bizarre behavior” after he requested divorce, including accessing his email account and sending messages under his name.

A phone number for Gail Ernst was disconnected. His lawyer, Ivan Miller, declined an interview request through an aide.

Man killed in McDonough County crash

WQAD News -

BUSHNELL, Illinois — One person was killed and several others were injured when a pickup collided with a van on Illinois Route 41.

The crash happened Tuesday, January 22 around 10:15 a.m., according to a statement from the Illinois State Police.  A 1998 Ford F-150 pickup was headed southbound when the driver lost control on an icy road, crossed the center line and collided with a 2003 Ford Econoline van, which was headed northbound.

Police said both the driver and passenger of the pickup were thrown in the crash. The passenger, 86-year-old Ray Etter from Bushnell was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the pickup and everyone in the van sustained serious injuries, police said.  The van driver was airlifted to a Peoria hospital; everyone else was taken to another hospital in the area.

The pickup driver was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, improper lane usage, and failure to wear a seatbelt, according to police. The passenger who died at the scene was also not wearing a seatbelt.

Judge strikes down Iowa’s restrictive ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law, says it violates state constitution.

WQAD News -

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Judge strikes down Iowa's restrictive 'fetal heartbeat' abortion law, says it violates the state constitution.

Previously:

The law was originally signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 4, a day after it passed in the Republican-run Legislature. It would prohibit most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which many medical professionals say is around six weeks of pregnancy. The law is considered one of the strictest abortion measures in the nation.

Although written to go into effect July 1, the legal challenge by abortion providers including Planned Parenthood and the Emma Goldman Clinic halted its implementation.

The providers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa argued in court Friday that the law is "blatantly unconstitutional under clear Iowa law" and Judge Michael Huppert should order the matter settled without a trial in what is called a summary judgment.

Planned Parenthood attorney Alice Clapman said courts in several states that recognize abortion as a fundamental right — North Dakota, Arkansas and Mississippi included — have dismissed similar abortion bans before trial.

"You cannot recognize this right is fundamental and recognize how important it is to have that freedom and then allow the state to come in and ban it," Clapman said.

The Iowa Supreme Court in June struck down an earlier law that required a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, ruling that the restriction was unconstitutional and that "autonomy and dominion over one's body go to the very heart of what it means to be free."

The court concluded that a woman's right to abortion is fundamental and the state may not restrict that right unless it can demonstrate that the restriction is narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest.

Attorney Martin Cannon argued for the state that the bill is extremely narrow in focus by saying a beating heart signifies life in a fetus and that human life must be protected once an abdominal ultrasound identifies a beating heart.

"Our position is an unborn child with a heartbeat is just as alive on the way into life as a person with a heartbeat is still alive when they're nearing death. The heartbeat is the defining thing whichever direction you're crossing the threshold from," Cannon said.

He contends the bill does not prevent an abortion, it just pushes women to do it sooner in the pregnancy. He argued there are too many disputed issues to be heard at trial and the judge should not end the lawsuit.

Clinton woman out $112,000 after looking for love online

WQAD News -

CLINTON, Iowa-- A Clinton woman is out more than $100,000 because she fell in love. Police say she fell for a man online, and that man took almost everything she had.

You might think this could never happen to you or anyone you know. Police say don't be so sure. Police say the "romance scam" is one of the costliest scams out there.

"We just started emailing back and forth, and then it went to texting. Then after some time, I fell for him."

It didn't take long for an online dating profile to turn into love for a Clinton woman. For the purposes of this story, we'll call her Linda.

"[It felt] good that someone was out there for me, that I could find somebody," says Linda.

Without ever meeting in person, Linda went all in with her heart and her wallet.

"It was a factory he was building, and I believed him," says Linda.

The mystery man, supposedly named Mark, told Linda he needed money for this lucrative project, promising to pay Linda back with double the money she gave him.

The first check she wrote was money out of her retirement savings, $48,000. And it didn't stop there.

"I did several charge cards I had, and I maxed them out. He always liked good clothes, good quality clothes," says Linda.

They were separate charges to places like Best Buy, Von Maur, Verison and Federal Express landing Linda a grand total of $112,513.

After this went on for a year, Linda enlisted help from law enforcement who did some digging on her beloved Mark.

"Anybody who asks for money, it's always going to be a scam. No exceptions," says the head of Clinton County's Seniors vs. Crime unit Randy Meier.

Meier wanted to find out exactly who "Mark" really was.

"He responded by producing a passport. It looks really good, but it's fake. We know they're based in West Africa. We know the money went to Ghana or other west African countries in that vicinity. Other than that, it's difficult to identify the person," says Meier.

Broken-hearted, and just flat out broke, Linda has filed for bankruptcy.

"I just don't want anyone else to get in this situation," says Linda.

Not only is Linda a victim of the romance scam, Meier says if she sends "Mark" any more money or merchandise, she could go to federal prison for money laundering. Linda says she will never send "Mark" another penny.

Her love story is now a story of lies serving as a warning for others.

"Why are you doing this to people? You're wrecking their lives, you're wrecking their lives big time," says Linda.

Meier says the number one way to know if you're falling victim to a romance scam is if the person you are connecting with online asks you to send money. He says the people will be persistent, be hesitant to talk on the phone, and they will tell you anything and everything to get you to send money or merchandise. He says the best thing you can do if you're already in a scam is to stop sending things immediately and to contact police.

Here’s the #1 Valentine’s candy in each state, and why you’ll see less sweethearts

WQAD News -

Ever wondered what to get on Valentine’s day? check the map below to see what every state likes most…

Valentine’s Day Candy sales are expected to exceed $1.8 Billion this year. Last year, the National Retail Federation predicted a decline in Valentine’s Day spending EXCEPT for the candy. Using sales data from the past 11 years  CandyStore.com has compiled sales data to determine the most popular Valentine’s Day candy.

 

Conversation hearts have always been a Valentine’s day staple. But those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate were more popular. That changed last year when conversation hearts finally became more popular than the heart-boxed chocolate.

Cupid corn (Candy corn) didn’t do as well.

This is a total reversal from the Christmas season where candy corn and its seasonal variants saw increased sales.

 

 

The ever-popular M&M’s did not claim any new #1 spots for any states, it did claim 3 more #2 spots and 5 more #3 spots.

Conversation hearts candies are the most popular candy for Valentine’s Day season. But if you’re a fan there’s bad news.

“Sweethearts were made by the New England Confectionery Company. Necco, for short. And despite the Great Necco Wafer Panic of 2018, the company was not able to be saved. Necco is dead, and so are SweetHearts for now.”

Candystore.com estimates that over 80% of the conversation hearts purchased are SweetHearts brand. So expect to see WAY less of them this year…

“Last year, based on the number of pounds sold, conversation hearts were the new #1 Valentine’s candy in America. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates had been overtaken after a slow and steady rise of the little sugar hearts with cute sayings on them.”

In 2018, Necco announced they needed to sell the company, on July 24, 2018, the factory was shut down. Factory workers were told not to show up to work the next day.

To give you an idea of why that matters check the fast facts below.

 

What Candy will you be buying this Valentine’s day? Better make the right choice…

Live Road Conditions: Ride along with StormTrack 8 on the Iowa side

WQAD News -

Can’t see the live stream? Tap here.

Andrew Stutzke is live in the StormTrack 8 weather vehicle, The Beast.

Follow along as he brings you live road conditions on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities.

Click here to see live road conditions from the Illinois side.

A winter storm warning was issued for our region. Click here to see watches and warnings in your area. 

Related: Winter Storm Warning has expanded… Hazard road conditions to worsen overnight

Girl’s dad and soon-to-be stepdad pose with her before dance

WQAD News -

WACO, Texas – A divorce can often be a hard, emotional time for the children involved. However, one Texas family is going viral for sharing a sweet message about family.

Before a daddy/daughter dance, Dylan Lenox and David Lewis took a photo with Willow and the photos have since gone viral, WJLA reports. Lewis is her biological dad while Lenox is her soon-to-be stepdad.

“No we are not a same sex couple, but we do share a daughter,” Willow’s “Bonus Dad” Lenox wrote in the Facebook post, which has been shared more than 120,000 times as of Tuesday.

“David is Sarah’s ex husband and I am the Fiancé,” his post says. “We have molded ourselves into one unique family … for the sake of our children to know the power of love. Not only did I gain a daughter, I gained a brother and a best friend. Thank you Sarah for letting this all happen!”

The heartwarming photos were taken by Sarah, Willow’s mom, who happens to be a professional photographer.

“Willow Grace you are loved by so many people in this world and your Daddies love you!” the post ends with.

Rock Island doctor pleads not guilty to criminal sexual abuse

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A doctor accused touching someone inappropriately has pleaded not guilty.

The plea was entered on Tuesday, January 22, nearly five months after Dr. V.R. Karuparthy was charged with two counts of criminal sexual abuse.

According to Rock Island County Court documents, Dr. V.R. Karuparthy was accused of inappropriately touching someone who “was unable to give knowing consent… for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the defendant.” 

Previous reports indicate the Integrative Pain Centers of America in Rock Island was closed after the charges were filed.

A trial was scheduled for March.

 

Creator of infamous suspect sketch discusses going viral a year later

WQAD News -

LANCASTER, Pa. --- At the end of January 2018, Jocelyn Park went to Central Market in pursuit of her favorite eggs, according to WPMT.

When she arrived at the stand, she said the usual faces she recognized weren't there.

But someone else was, who she says was grabbing money from a cash box.

Asking if he was "stealing," Park says she began to question the man, even putting him to a test.

“They always give you the exact change, like without a blink of an eye, if you buy something so he kept trying to sell me something so I bought my eggs. He didn’t give me any change back and I said ‘You owe me change.’He was like 'Oh…' reached back, grabbed more money and just dumped change in my hands and then I knew...he’s lying,” said Park.

She said the man eventually fled her attempts to stop him, leading her to call police and file a report.

To keep the details of the suspect in mind, she began to write them down.

As a freelance graphic designer, Park said she went to what she does best by drawing a sketch based on the details she remembered following the encounter.

As a witness, she offered what she calls a "refined" rough draft to police.

“It was never meant to be like the best thing in the world and you know, a realistic photograph or a true police sketch, at all. It was just meant to jog my memory and I thought it might be helpful to someone else," said Park.

Once the sketch went public, it "exploded," as Park describes it, on the internet.

The sketch became an international sensation with people from all over the world laughing or critiquing the work for its whimsical nature.

“It’s not necessarily what I want to be known for, drawing the world’s worst sketch, but it’s a gift that’s been given to me,” said Park, with a laugh.

However, a week after the encounter, Park would receive vindication.

During its public fame, a Lancaster investigator saw it and it jogged his memory.

Police would arrest Hung Nguyen, now 45, on two counts of unlawful taking.

According to court documents, Nguyen plead guilty and was sentenced to 23 months in prison.

Park, a women who earned to degrees in art, said the whole event caused a roller coaster of emotion.

“It’s been funny that throughout my career, this would be the one thing that would just blow up," said Park, laughing.

Park said she believes her work brings people joy as others have reached out to her to draw sketches of themselves, family or friends.

While there have been high, Park says the "biggest blow" was finding websites using her sketch to profit off of merchandise, such as t-shirts.

“It’s not theirs to sell and it’s a piece of art, I guess, but it also has so much surrounding it that I wanted to have the say in how it was used.”

Park said the image is now copyrighted.

She said she didn't copyright the sketch for personal profit, but to prevent others from profiting off of her work.

Park admitted she hopes this is the one and only time she has to use her talents for a police sketch.

“I’m going to leave that up to the professionals. I think they can do a much better job than I can," said Park, with a laugh.

Chris Brown arrested in Paris on allegations of rape, source says

WQAD News -

Singer Chris Brown has been arrested in Paris, accused of aggravated rape and drug violations, a French judicial source told CNN.

Brown is being held along with two other unidentified people, the source said Tuesday. The US Embassy in Paris declined to comment on the report.

CNN has reached out to Brown’s attorney.

The singer has had several run-ins with the law, including physical assault charges following an incident with his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009. He was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats in that incident, and received five years’ probation and community service.

Most recently before the Paris incident, Brown was arrested after a concert in July on a felony battery charge stemming from an April 2017 incident in which he was accused of punching a man who photographed him without permission.

He was released after posting $2,000 bail, pleaded not guilty at a subsequent hearing and is awaiting trial.

In 2013, Brown and his bodyguard were arrested and charged with felony assault after an alleged altercation outside a hotel in Washington. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in court the next day, and Brown was released from jail without bail.

Later that year, Brown was kicked out of a rehab facility after smashing his mother’s car window during a family session. A judge ordered him to immediately enter into another rehab program.

Parts of Niagara Falls have frozen, leaving majestic views

WQAD News -

NIAGARA FALLS - It's so cold, parts of Niagara Falls are frozen.

The winter storm that has blanketed the Midwest in snow and turned the Northeast into a deep freezer has now brought the falls' rushing waters to a halt in places.

Visitors to Niagara Falls snapped pictures of the majestic sights and still waters Sunday.

Emma Grafham told CNN she felt like she was in "Elsa's castle."

"There was even this set of stairs that were placed just outside the look-on spot and they had so much ice on them, it looked like Elsa had just cast her arm out and summoned up some stairs like she does in the movie," she said.

Bone-chilling cold is expected to continue in parts of the Northeast this week.

Another cold snap will move in during the weekend, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

"The waves of cold air will continue for the next two weeks," he said.

Baby dies after pregnant woman claims she was kicked in stomach

WQAD News -

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – A 22-year-old Michigan man has been charged after allegedly assaulting his pregnant girlfriend, causing her to miscarry, and the baby to die, WNEM reports.

Oakland County deputies were called to a home in Pontiac after the 19-year-old woman said her boyfriend had kicked her in the stomach, and she was 6-months pregnant.

She said the fight started after she refused to give her boyfriend her cellphone.

When deputies arrived, the woman was having severe pain, and was taken to the hospital where the baby was pronounced dead.

Kahlil Arron-Shabazz Ellison was found at a different home and taken into custody.

He was arraigned on a charge of assault-pregnant individual-intentionally causing miscarriages/still birth.

Porn tax to build border wall? Arizona lawmaker proposes bill that’d require fee to view porn

WQAD News -

Phoenix, AZ (KPHO/KTVK ) — An Arizona lawmaker has a unique idea to raise funds for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Arizona Rep. Gail Griffin proposed Arizona House Bill 2444. It would require electronics manufacturers to install porn-blocking software on Arizona residents’ phones, computers and/or tablets.

The only way to access porn would be paying a one-time fee of at least $20. Anyone who deactivates the blocker, or commits any other sort of violation, would face a misdemeanor charge.

The taxed money would go into a new account called the “John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund.”

Among the goals for the fund include building a border wall between Mexico and Arizona or fund border security.

Funding would also help human trafficking and domestic violence victims with housing, job placement and health services.

The bill is not currently on any committee calendar for discussion.

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