The latest local news

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

WQAD News -

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than two decades on Tuesday with the lethal injection of four drugs in a combination never tried before, including the powerful opioid fentanyl.

Carey Dean Moore, 60, was pronounced dead at 10:47 a.m. Moore had been sentenced to death for killing two cab drivers in Omaha in 1979. He was the first inmate to be lethally injected in Nebraska, which last carried out an execution in 1997, using the electric chair.

Witnesses said that there appeared to be no complications in the execution process, which also was the first time a state used a four-drug combination.

At one point while on the gurney, Moore turned his head and mouthed several words to his family, including “I love you.”

In his final written statement, Moore admitted: “I am guilty.” But he said there are others on Nebraska’s death row who say they are innocent and he said they should be released.

“How might you feel if your loved one was innocent and on death row?” Moore asked.

Moore’s execution comes a little more than three years after Nebraska lawmakers abolished the death penalty, only to have it reinstated the following year through a citizen ballot drive partially financed by Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts. The governor, a wealthy former businessman, has said he was fulfilling the wishes of voters in the conservative state.

The Nebraska drug protocol called for an initial IV dose of diazepam, commonly known as Valium, to render the inmate unconscious; the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl; cisatracurium besylate to induce paralysis and stop the inmate from breathing; and potassium chloride to stop the heart. After each injection, prison officials sent saline through the IV to flush out any residue and ensure all the drugs had entered the inmate’s system.

Diazepam, fentanyl and cisatracurium had never been used in executions before. A fentanyl overdose killed music superstar Prince in 2016.

According to prosecutors, Moore was 21 when he fatally shot Reuel Van Ness during a robbery with his younger brother, and used the money to buy drugs and pornography. Moore fatally shot Maynard Helgeland by himself five days later, saying he wanted to prove he could take a man’s life by himself. Moore was arrested a week later. He was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, while his 14-year-old brother was convicted of second-degree murder.

In his statement, Moore also apologized to his brother, who was with him during the 1979 robbery and murder of Van Ness.

“I should (have) led him in the right way to go instead of bringing him down, way down,” Moore said of his brother.

Moore had faced execution dates set by the Nebraska Supreme Court seven times since he was convicted, but each was delayed because of legal challenges and questions over whether previous lethal injection drugs were purchased legally. For some relatives of Moore’s victims, that was far too long — and they hope his name and crimes will finally vanish from headlines.

“We’re sick of hearing about Carey Dean Moore,” Steve Helgeland, one of Maynard Helgeland’s three children, said ahead of the execution.

Helgeland said the numerous delays in executing Moore had left him ambivalent about whether his father’s killer dies by lethal injection or spends the rest of his life in prison. Helgeland said he plans to be present at the prison for the execution to honor his father’s memory, but that he won’t witness it.

“There was a point in my life when I probably would have pulled the switch myself, but 39 years has a way of dissipating your anger,” he said.

A Germany-based drugmaker tried to halt the execution last week, filing a lawsuit that alleged the state had illegally procured at least one of the company’s drugs. The company, Fresenius Kabi, argued that allowing the execution to go forward would harm its reputation and business relationships.

But a federal judge sided with state attorneys , who argued that the public’s interest in carrying out a lawful execution outweighed the company’s concerns. The judge also noted that Moore had stopped fighting the state’s efforts to execute him.

A federal appeals court upheld that ruling Monday, and Fresenius Kabi decided not to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Eco-friendly open-air urinals cause uproar in Paris

WQAD News -

(CNN) — An attempt by officials in Paris to tackle public urination by installing open-air urinals, or “uritrottoirs,” has outraged some residents of the French capital.

The new urinals, housed in flower boxes, aren’t subtle — they’re fully exposed on street corners, are painted bright red and have nearby signs advertising their presence.

One in particular, located near the Notre-Dame cathedral, has drawn attention for its view of the River Seine.

The “intelligent urinals,” which have a straw layer that eliminates odor, were installed in areas where public urination is a problem, according to a statement from city officials.

Officials say the urinals are eco-friendly — they will harness nutrients in waste to produce compost for parks and gardens. According to the statement, one year of a person’s urine holds enough nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to fertilize 400 square meters of wheat.

However, these features have done little to calm the ire of local residents, who have written to the town hall in protest.

“I think installing a urinal in the streets of Paris for those who don’t respect their surroundings is a good idea, but in my opinion, this model is not attractive at all, and where it’s been set up is not appropriate at all,” one man told reporters.

Another resident complained that “it is definitely a desirable and historic neighborhood, but seeing people urinating right in front of your door is not the nicest thing.”

Ariel Weil, mayor of the fourth district of Paris, tweeted in defense of the urinals on Monday, calling them “an invention of genius.” Four have been installed so far, with a fifth being planned.

Paris isn’t the first European city to install outdoor urinals. Amsterdam has had them for years, and cities in Belgium and Australia have also trialed them.

A centuries-old tradition

Public urinals, or pissoirs as they’re known in French, have a long history in Paris, dating back to the late 1800s when they were installed for men traveling to and from work.

It wasn’t until women started entering the workforce in greater numbers decades later that the need for enclosed cubicles with seats, toilet paper and hand basins emerged, explained Raymond Morris, managing director of the British Toilet Association.

“In London, this is where the phrase ‘spend a penny’ came from, as it cost a penny to use these facilities — the equivalent of buying a loaf of bread in those days,” Morris told CNN.

Meanwhile some Parisian public toilets became “almost ornamental, due to their decorative features,” said Morris. He added that the buildings had the added advantage of offering space for advertisers.

But centuries after the first pissoirs were installed in Paris, women are still not being adequately catered for, said Morris. “The trouble today is the inequality for women,” he said, adding that in the UK, various proposals for female urinals had been rejected on the grounds that they exposed women in public

Lunch lady sisters steal nearly $500,000 from school cafeterias

WQAD News -

Joanne Pascarelli, left, and Marie Wilson, were charged with stealing $500,000 from two school cafeterias in New Canaan, Conn.

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Two sisters who supervised two school cafeterias in Connecticut have been charged in an alleged scheme that netted over $500,000 in stolen lunch money, according to WTIC.

Joanne Pascarelli, 61, and her sister, 67-year-old Marie Wilson, turned themselves in to authorities over the weekend on multiple charges including larceny and defrauding the public.

Pascarelli is accused of stealing money from two school cafeterias over a five-year period. Pascarelli supervised the Saxe Middle School cafeteria and Wilson supervised the New Canaan High School cafeteria.

Investigators met with school officials in December after a cafeteria worker complained about supervisors mishandling money.

Officials said the scheme may have lasted 15 years.

“Since it occurred over a long period of time in relatively small amounts, the district was unaware of these discrepancies until it instituted new financial controls specifically related to the collection and depositing of cash in the cafeterias,” Michael Horyczun, spokesman for New Canaan Public Schools, said in an email to the New York Times on Monday.

Investigators believe the sisters took money from the cash registers before a new system was put in place that made thefts more apparent.

When the new system was introduced, the amount of cash taken during lunch increased significantly without an increase in the numbers of meals served. The average daily cash intake went from below $40 to $150 a day.

Officials said $137,682 was stolen from the middle school and $350,906 from the high school from 2012 to 2017. Police were unable to investigate prior to 2012 due to the statute of limitations.

According to arrest warrants, the sisters would have cashiers sign blank bank deposit slips and allegedly put a co-worker on dishwashing duty for several months when she asked financial questions.

Both women resigned from the school district in December 2017.

Trump calls Omarosa a ‘dog’ in latest attack on ex-aide

WQAD News -

Watch Video

(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday referred to former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, the only African-American to have served in a senior role in the White House, as a “dog.”

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Referring to an African-American woman as an animal is at best a sharp departure from the language typically employed by Presidents and at worst a reference that traffics in sexual and racial imagery. Trump has long denied being racist and has dismissed a claim made by Manigault Newman that he used a racial slur on the set of “The Apprentice.” He’s also invoked “dog” to insult non-African-Americans — including Mitt Romney and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

As President, however, Trump has stoked racial tensions in the US, blaming “both sides” after violence sparked last year by a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also also privately referred some African nations as “s***hole countries” and lambasted the protests led overwhelmingly by black NFL players.

In a separate tweet Tuesday morning, Trump referred to a crash outside the UK’s Houses of Parliament as a “terrorist attack” committed by “animals,” though the incident was still being investigated and the identity of the driver had not been publicly released.

The President also has been accused of calling some women “fat pigs” and “dogs,” though Trump has defended his treatment of women and denied multiple sexual misconduct claims against him.

Manigault Newman was fired from her job as director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison by Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly last December.

Trump’s attacks on Manigault Newman come as her tell-all book “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House” is released this week, which contains several unflattering claims against the President and his staff. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said the book is “riddled with lies and false accusations.”

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona condemned Trump’s name-calling and said his fellow Republicans “should not be okay with it.”

“This kind of language is unbecoming of a President of the United States. There is no excuse for it, and Republicans should not be okay with it,” said Flake, who is not running for re-election.

New Illinois lottery scratch-off ticket to help families of wounded and fallen police officers

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — The newest Illinois Lottery scratch-off game will help support programs and initiatives for the families of fallen or injured police officers.

“Our police officers stand in the face of danger every day to keep us safe. We are proud to stand with them and support their families when they are faced with a devastating loss,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement. “This new ticket will help fund scholarships for their children and honor their bravery at memorial parks across the state.”

House Bill 5513, which Rauner signed into law last month, will allow proceeds from the new scratch-off game to be divided equally between the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Fund, Police Memorial Committee Fund and the Illinois State Police Memorial Fund.

Frank Gross, director of operations for Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, said one of the key areas the fund will support is education.

“What we do at the foundation is we provide for education for the families of the fallen officers, or the catastrophically injured,” he said. “We have officers that are completely bedridden, and we are taking care of some of their children as they move through grammar school, high school, college and even graduate school.”

The funds will also help maintain the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park.

“It’s about five acres, and officers’ families can come and reflect on the lives of the fallen officers,” Gross said. “Five hundred eighty-two names are on the walls of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty for the citizens of Chicago.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, sponsored the bill, and proceeds from the police memorial instant ticket will go to the Criminal Justice Information Projects Fund, which will distribute the money equally among the three funds.

Another initiative the fund will help support is the “Get Behind the Vest” campaign, Gross said.

“We vow to make sure when an officer hits the streets, they go out in a vest that has not expired, that is not worn down, and will be effective in stopping a bullet and keeping our officers safe,” he said.

The new law takes effect on Jan. 1.

Video captures bear walking into Connecticut liquor store

WQAD News -

BRISTOL, Conn. -- It was a close call Monday after a black bear walked into a liquor store in Bristol, according to WTIC.

The bear walked into Crazy Bruce's Discount Liquors on Route 6. The black bear made it through the front door, but an employee managed to lock the inside door so the bear couldn't get into the actual store.

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there have been 153 reported bear sightings in Bristol in the last year.

Florida man threatened people 3 different times before shooting man in latest ‘stand your ground’ case

WQAD News -

Watch Video

(CNN) — The man charged with manslaughter after shooting another man in a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store parking lot has a history of threatening drivers, according to documents from the Pinellas County Circuit Court.

Michael Drejka, 47, fatally shot Markeis McGlockton in July after McGlockton shoved him to the ground during a dispute over a handicapped-accessible spot. Drejka claimed he feared for his life and said he fired in self-defense. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri previously said Florida’s “stand your ground” laws prevented him from arresting Drejka.

Drejka was ultimately charged and will make his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. CNN has tried contacting Drejka multiple times, but has not heard back and it was not clear whether he has an attorney.

Court documents show that the July incident wasn’t the first time Drejka aggressively confronted drivers over parking spots or what he perceived to be traffic infractions.

A truck driver parked in a handicapped-accessible spot

About three months ago, Richard Kelly told a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detective he was confronted by Drejka at Circle A Food Store, the same store where he shot McGlockton. Drejka, documents said, was upset because Kelly parked in a handicapped-accessible spot. The exchange between the two became very loud and Kelly said at some point during the argument Drejka told him he was going to shoot him, documents said.

Drejka then went to his car and was rummaging around the center console, but documents said Kelly drove away. Drejka, Kelly said, also threw racial slurs at him. Kelly is black and Drejka is white.

Court documents said Drejka wanted to voice his complaint to Kelly’s employer, AA Cut-Rate Septic Tank Service, so he spoke to the owner, John Tyler. Drejka told the business owner he was lucky he didn’t blow his employee’s head off, documents said.

A woman drove too slow through a school zone

On December 12, 2012, a woman told a Largo Police Department officer that a man driving a black Toyota truck, later identified as Drejka, pointed a gun at her and the passengers in the vehicle.

The woman pointed out the truck to the officer. The officer spoke with Drejka, documents said, and he told the officer the woman was driving too slow through a school zone.

Drejka denied pointing a gun at the occupants of the car, documents said, but he did have a gun in his vehicle. Drejka told the officer, according to police reports, that he honked at the people in the other car, and the people in that car made rude hand gestures at him.

A teen didn’t drive through a yellow light

On January 10, 2012, Tyler Smith, 18, was driving with a friend when a traffic light turned yellow. Smith decided not to drive through the light and stopped his vehicle.

A truck, driven by Drejka, was behind Smith. Drejka honked his horn, documents said, and yelled at Smith. Drejka held a black handgun out the driver’s side window of his vehicle and motioned for Smith to walk back to his truck, documents said. Drejka then followed the teen’s vehicle, passed it and slammed on his brakes, according to police reports.

The teen did not press charges, documents said.

When officers confronted Drejka about the incident, he said the teen’s car cut him off, the police report said. He said he neither followed the teen’s car nor did he show his gun, but did admit to having one in his vehicle.

Iowa Supreme Court halts absentee issues in voter ID law

WQAD News -

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa election officials were told Friday by the state Supreme Court they cannot implement several absentee voting requirements in a new voter ID law until a challenge to the law can be heard at a trial.

A court order signed by Chief Justice Mark Cady upheld a judge’s temporary injunction halting enforcement of several sections of the 2017 law pertaining to absentee ballots. The order said the state cannot throw out an absentee ballot based on a judgment by local election officials that the voter’s signature doesn’t match one on file.

It also said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate cannot require absentee ballots to include a voter verification number and he must make it clear in materials sent to voters that an ID isn’t required to vote until next year.

In elections this year, voters without IDs have been allowed to sign an “Oath of Identification” attesting that they are who they say they are. The oath option will remain available for the November election, which features competitive races for governor and at least two Republican-held U.S. House seats.

Next year, however, when there will be local races, the option of signing an oath will go away and voters must have acceptable identification or they will have to cast a provisional ballot, then return to show ID within a few days for their ballot to count.

Friday’s court order does allow the state to narrow the time frame for casting absentee ballots to 29 days from 40 days, a change that will be effective for the general election in November.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair sued the state in May, arguing that changes in the voter ID law would disenfranchise voters, especially Latinos who vote absentee in large numbers.

They asked the court to issue an injunction halting enforcement of the absentee ballot provisions and a judge did so in July. The state appealed.

“This a major victory for voting rights and a powerful affirmation of the principle that voting should be easy and accessible for all,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of the Priorities USA Foundation, a voting rights advocacy organization that is helping to fund the lawsuit.

Cecil said the court’s decision means voters in the fall elections “will no longer be forced to produce an obscure voter ID number in order to cast an absentee ballot, nor will they be in danger of having their ballot thrown out due to inaccurate signature matching.”

Pate said in a statement that he is disappointed the court set aside only part of the injunction but he looks forward to a full hearing in court.

“Voters benefit from having clarity in how the election laws will be applied for the November general election,” he said.

The issue is a key topic for Pate’s re-election race this year. His opponent, Democrat Deidre DeJear, has been a critic of the law passed by a Republican-led legislature with Pate’s support.

New law means more beer choices at Illinois brewers

WQAD News -

(Illinois News Network) – One of Illinois’ newest laws means more beer choices the next time people visit one of the state’s smaller breweries.

Illinois beer lovers have been able to sample beers from the state’s breweries for years. Now they will be able to sample beers from other brewers as well.

Gov. Bruce Rauner over the weekend signed a new law, HB 4897, that expands the choices from Illinois breweries by allowing breweries to serve beer that’s not their own.

Matt Porter, with the DESTIHL brewery in normal, said the change is good for small breweries across the state because it opens new markets and finds new beer fans.

“We’ll be able to serve guest beers and guest ciders in our taprooms,” Porter said. “In Illinois, currently, you can only serve your own beer in your taproom. So it really encourages that collaboration and community among our industry.”

Danielle D’Alessandro with Illinois’ Craft Brewers Guild said the new law should get more beer into the hands of beer drinkers.

“This will allow brewers to feature neighboring breweries,” D’Alessandro said. “While also being able to highlight the innovation that comes from collaboration beers that a brewery does with another brewery. either locally or nationally.”

The new law also makes it easier for small brewers to use warehouses or other storage facilities, rather than having to open a second location.

The governor’s office said the new law updates the state’s liquor control act, which dates back to 1934.

Video shows officers frantically saving shelter animals as wildfire closes in

WQAD News -

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. – Sixty cats and dogs are back safe in their kennels at the Solano County SPCA, days after the Nelson Fire in Northern California forced them out.

"We just did what we would hope anybody else would do for our own pets," Officer Carly Stone said.As the fire barreled toward the shelter on Friday, Vacaville Police Officer Carly Stone ran inside.

"We probably started frantically collecting cats and dogs, and in about eight or 10 minutes, the flames got too close and we knew we had to leave. We were forced to leave," Stone said.

Body camera video released by the Vacaville Police Department shows the mad dash to get the animals to safety.

Dozens of animals were taken away, one by one.

"We just did what we would hope anybody else would do for our own pets," Stone told KTXL.

But as flames crept toward the shelter, the animals needed another place to stay. Neighbors Kaitlin Oag stepped in to help.

"They just handed us a crate. We didn’t know who was in there," Oag said. "And it was Sage and Marcel and we just fell in love with them."

Oag ended up adopting the two dogs.

The shelter was not damaged, but thousands of dollars worth of food and medication were lost when the power went out.

Floatzilla needs your help to break record in ninth attempt

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois- This Saturday, you could help break a world record right here in the Quad Cities.

For those that are not familiar with the event, its called Floatzilla. This is the ninth attempt to break the world record for largest flotilla, which is a bunch of boats that are close together. The canoe and kayak event is being held on Saturday, August 18th, in Sunset Park, Rock Island and five other locations along the Quad Cities riverfront.

The organization is seeking volunteers to help out this year. Volunteer opportunities are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include a variety of important jobs like parking, boat security and registration.

Organizers say the majority of help is needed on Saturday, but there will be opportunities for volunteers on Friday as well.

All volunteers will receive a free Floatzilla 2018 t-shirt, a pizza party and orientation and a BOAT-load of thanks for their help. Volunteers must be at least high school aged unless accompanied by an adult.

To sign up as a volunteer, visit http://www.floatzilla.org/volunteer. You may also call the River Action office at (563) 322-2969.

And tune in this Friday bright and early for GMQC, when we sit down for breakfast with the ambitious world-record pursuers.

This is why you’ll see more jet contrails in the sky today

WQAD News -

When your Morning Meteorologist utters the words "increasing clouds," chances are you'll see more jet contrails in the day ahead. That's because jet contrails are often produced before incoming weather systems.

Not every high-flying jet produces a jet contrail. Conditions have to be just right. That includes the altitude, temperature, and moisture at flight level. Jet contrails are usually produced at altitudes greater than five miles. However, if conditions during the Winter are extremely cold, they can be produced at lower altitudes. Temperatures must be colder than -40° Fahrenheit, which isn't that uncommon, even in Summer months.

Why we are seeing more contrails than just a few decades ago

Finally, moisture is needed (which is why these occur in advance of low pressure systems). Thunderstorms being produced "upstream" boost water vapor high into the atmosphere which then spreads along jet stream winds. As jet aircraft fly through this high-humidity air, more contrails are formed.

Jet airplanes also produce water vapor (a byproduct of jet engines) which combines with exhaust particles to produce contrail clouds.

I've been asked how this affects climate and climate change. Jet airplanes are big polluters...there's no question about that! The Environmental Protection Agency reports 12 percent of all transportation-related emissions in the U.S. are from aircraft.

On the EPA's website, information concerning regulation of aircraft emissions ends in 2016.

As more people use airplanes for travel, more jet contrails are being produced. Studies show that these additional clouds are reflecting some solar radiation, possibly keeping afternoon temperatures cooler. However, as contrails are less likely to be produced at night, nighttime temperatures are trending warmer.

In a Facebook post that is more than a year old, this is what I got from the “chemtrail” crowd in just a few days. #ConspiracyTheories pic.twitter.com/7rZGg0spgS

— EricSorensen (@ERICSORENSEN) August 14, 2018

There are conspiracy theorists who believe the presence of jet contrails, which they call "chemtrails," is proof of nefarious activity. In a recent post on my Facebook page, I received more than 7,500 comments, mostly from people who believe I am purposefully lying to the public.

Bullying got personal following 2016 reporting on contrails 

Conspiracies can last a long time because they seem plausible. And then when someone believes a conspiracy to be true, they often find different things to back up their original opinion instead of facts that are contrary. That's why those craving information should be diligent with what's been proven fact. Conspiracies travel faster than jet airplanes, around the internet with no scientific consensus or factual basis.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

 

Pages

Subscribe to Danville Telco aggregator - The latest local news