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THIS WEEK: The end of an epidemic?

WQAD News -

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – HIV and AIDS are still the same diseases they always were.

But in other important ways, they aren't.

"It's very treatable," said DeLaCerta House executive director Cathy Jordan.

"People live decades now.   Quality of life is immensely high."

Earlier this year, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker rolled out a plan to eliminate the spread of HIV in Illinois by 2030.

In Illinois, 39,842 people are believed to be living with HIV.  The group "Getting to Zero" reported a 35% drop in new transmissions in the decade between 2006 and 2017.

In Iowa, the state's public health agency reports 2371 Iowans are infected with HIV.

136 were diagnosed in 2016, the largest increase since reporting started in 1998.

Is it realistic to end the epidemic?

"Absolutely, absolutely," declared the executive director of The Project of the Quad Cities Andrea Meirick.

The Project of the Quad Cities has a downtown Moline clinic offering HIV drugs and counselling for free." 

By 2030 the states of Illinois and Iowa's ending HIV plan is, and if we can do those two things, taking care of those people with HIV and see a PrEP uptake, we absolutely will reach that," she added.

What's PrEP?  It's Pre-exposure prophylaxis.

It's a small pill with a big impact.

PrEP is a preventative pill used by people at high-risk for HIV infections.

The other treatment is called PEP.

It's for those who may have been exposed.  It's proven to prevent HIV from spreading.

In the Quad Cities, the Project offers both medications as a way to curb the epidemic

"Take it once a day and it's relatively harmless and here at the Project, you can get it for free," said Meirick.

DeLaCerta House re-opened Robb's House, offering temporary living space for those with HIV and AIDS in the Quad Cities.

But what's not harmless is the stigma still associated with HIV and AIDS.

Even a generation after a group in the Quad Cities created Robb's House.

"This house was created out of a vision to create safe space for people who died from AIDS," said Jordan.

The Quad Cities has a five bedroom home available for a temporary place to live for those with HIV infections.  It just re-opened after being shut down last year when federal funding dried up.

It has housed 80-people in the 23-years it was open.

See more of our interview with DeLaCerta House executive director Cathy Jordan on our NEWS 8 THIS WEEK Extra at WQAD Jim Mertens on Facebook.

And those who run it say HIV may be controllable, society's reaction to it isn't.

"People still lose employment because they have HIV," said Jordan.

"People still lose housing because they have HIV.   And people still have broken relationships because of HIV."

HIV and AIDS are leaving a bigger impact in some groups than in others.

The CDC says:

  • The largest number of new HIV cases is being seen among black and latino gay and bi-sexual men
  • There's a significant percentage of diagnoses for black women through heterosexual contact
  • African Americans account for 43% of cases in 2017 

Watch: Utah Trooper saves unconscious driver moments before train strikes his car

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Early in the morning on Wednesday, October 16th, the Utah Highway Patrol posted this dashcam video of a trooper pulling an unconscious driver from his car just before it was hit by a train.

Trooper Ruben Correa was on a traffic stop not far from the scene when he responded to a call of a car on train tracks. Correa quickly ran to the vehicle and pulled the driver out and saved his life. Correa describes the split-second descision saying, “At that point, I actually wasn’t really thinking, I was just doing my job.”

Colonel Michael Rapich of the UHP extolled the Correa, saying, “An incredible and heroic action by Trooper Ruben Correa. We are so grateful that the Driver and Trooper are safe after this extremely close call. Well done Trooper Correa!!!”

A KSL report says that the driver was subject to an unknown medical issue prior to the incident, and that he is safe and uninjured.

San Francisco man completes ‘figure-8’ sail around the world in one season

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(CNN) — Randall Reeves was destined to be a seaman.

His father was a naval captain, and Reeves, now 57, grew up surrounded by sea lore. His childhood home was decorated with his father’s sextant and other navigational tools and charts, old uniforms and an underlined copy of Herman Melville’s classic 1851 seafarer novel “Moby Dick.”

The family bought a boat when Reeves was in high school and the first time he rode on it, he remembers, “It was this epiphany, this physical feeling of, ‘Oh. Oh! This is what I’m supposed to do.”

Based in Oakland, California, Reeves is fulfilling that heritage now, 40 years later. On October 19, Reeves sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito, where he stepped off his 45-foot sailboat, Moli, completing his year-long journey: a solo “figure-8” sail around the world.

Record-making

The finish marks a world record, the sailor says: Reeves claims to be the first person in the world to complete this difficult route alone. (There’s no certifying body that regulates voyages of this type, but an international community of sailors, the Ocean Cruising Club, commemorated Reeves with a plaque after his landing.)

He departed from San Francisco down the Pacific past South America, made a hard left through the Southern Ocean above Antarctica and went once around the globe, before turning north.

Reeves sailed through the Atlantic and into the Arctic Ocean, and circled the globe once more before heading back south toward home in California.

He rounded the American and the Antarctic continents and approached both the North and South Poles in the span of one calendar year, but over just the summer season, as this kind of journey couldn’t be made to either pole in the winter.

This is the second time Reeves has attempted the figure-8 in the past two years — his previous attempt in 2017 ended with an overturned boat post-storm in Tasmania. Only one other sailor has attempted a similar figure-8 route, but didn’t complete it, Reeves says.

35 pounds of coffee

Leaving home in northern California on September 30, Reeves completed the 40,000-mile journey without power winches or power sails, refrigeration, or on-board water purification; he carried all his food on board — including 365 Clif Bars, 35 pounds of coffee, 36 pounds of powdered milk, and 84 cans of stewed tomatoes — and water for the year.

Truly a solo adventurer, Reeves subsisted 200 days without human voice contact, and 230-plus days of sleeping in only 90-minute stretches — he figured out quickly, by trial and error and starting with only one hour at a time, that 90 minutes was the minimum duration necessary to avoid hallucination.

The brief periods of rest allowed for him to still maintain the boat on course. Before embarking on the course, Randall says, he was fit from regular walking and running, though not “marathon fit.”

Describing his days on the precarious Southern Ocean, where the waves can be as high as two-story houses and winds can reach 50 miles-per-hour in stormy weather, Reeves explained the draw to CNN Travel, “There’s no coastguard down there. No one’s going to come pick you up if you have problems. You have to figure it out on your own. To put yourself into a part of the world that is absolutely and utterly wild, to be in a place where humans simply aren’t, to deal with what nature dishes you, it’s a huge privilege.”

One thrill of the journey was viewing Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America, close up and unobstructed, twice — the only two times Reeves saw land in 237 days — from a sailor’s perspective, which he describes as “like looking at Mount Everest from the peak.”

One with nature

The sailor was also awed by his solo encounters with pelagic birds, those who, like Reeves this last year, spend most of their time on the ocean. He recalls during a storm, a bird crashed into his boat and got stuck in the cockpit. To help it back onto the sea, Reeves picked up the bird. “I’m holding this wild animal in my hand, thinking it’s probably never seen a human before. To be able to let it go back into its environment was amazing.”

As to what journey Reeves and Moli will take on next, he isn’t sure. He dreams of undertaking the figure-8 route again, but more slowly, “say, in five years as opposed to one,” Reeves says.

“It would be grand to just explore the route. There are a great number of islands spread out between Antarctica and the continents that I didn’t get to see. I didn’t get to stop where the seals and walruses and penguins live. But that’s a big commitment. We’ll see how that flies when I get home.”

Illinois-bound lane of I-74 bridge brought to standstill, emergency responders present

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The Illinois-bound lane of the Interstate 74 bridge from Bettendorf to Moline was brought to a total standstill with the cause being currently unconfirmed.

The traffic backup began around 4:00 p.m and began to open back up in one lane at 4:38 p.m. Around 4:50, traffic began to move at a normal pace further down I-74. Multiple emergency vehicles were seen at the location. Traffic camera footage showed a car being towed away from the scene around 4:30.

This football coach disarmed a student with a gun. Then he hugged him

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(CNN) — A high school football and track coach in Portland, Oregon, was celebrated as a hero earlier this year after he disarmed a student with a shotgun.

The student walked into a classroom at Parkrose High School in May, intending to use the firearm to take his own life, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said in a statement last week.

At the time, reports said the coach, Keanon Lowe, tackled the student. But according to emotional surveillance footage released by the district attorney’s office Friday, Lowe did nothing of the sort.

Instead, he embraced the student.

Footage shows the student, identified as Angel Granados-Diaz, walking down the hallway where the camera is filming. He moves out of view as he enters the classroom, right behind Lowe. Seconds later, people begin running through the hallways.

Lowe is seen backing out of the classroom, with the shotgun in his right hand. With his other arm, the coach holds the student at arm’s length. Another staff member enters the hallway and takes the gun from Lowe.

Then Lowe wraps the student in his arms. The coach rubs his back and holds him close. They’re later seen sitting on the floor of the hallway as police arrive and arrest the student.

Lowe, who was a standout wide receiver for the University of Oregon between 2010 and 2014, told reporters at the time that they had an “emotional” moment together, according to CNN affiliate KATU.

“In that time, I felt compassion for him,” Lowe said. “A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”

The district attorney’s office said Granados-Diaz had made suicidal statements to another student. He never pointed the shotgun at anyone but himself and never fired the gun on campus, the district attorney’s office said. He did try to pull the trigger, but the shotgun, which only had one round, did not fire. That is when Lowe took the firearm from him.

Granados-Diaz eventually pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public, the office said. He was sentenced last week to three years of probation.

“Through the course of the investigation it became clear to law enforcement and our office that Mr. Granados-Diaz did not have the intent to hurt anyone other than himself while at Parkrose High School,” Deputy District Attorney Parakram Singh said.

Under the agreement, Granados-Diaz will receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, the district attorney’s office said.

White House defends Trump’s Florida resort as ‘significantly cheaper’ option for G7 site

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(CNN) — The White House is defending its decision to host next year’s G7 at Trump’s own Florida resort against mounting criticism, saying the Doral site is “significantly cheaper” than other options.

The administration says the event will be run “at cost,” meaning without profit, by the Trump National property because of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution — which largely prohibits the President from accepting gifts and money from foreign governments. As a result, “the summit would be significantly cheaper for taxpayers and our foreign guests,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN. She did not provide details on what will and will not be included in the cost or how the total will be calculated.

It’s not clear that simply avoiding a profit would keep the administration from running afoul of the emoluments clause.

Grisham said the White House is also exploring a host committee for the G7, including the potential for receiving donations in order to help offset costs. She added this was also done in 2004.

The move to host the summit at Trump’s property is adding to deep fractures in the President’s relationships with some allies in Congress already upset with his decision to pull troops out of Syria. And though some of the pushback is predictable, it’s another worry for a White House already facing an impeachment inquiry.

A Democratic aide said the House of Representatives will vote next week on a resolution to condemn the President’s use of his Doral resort to host the G7.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN Friday that holding the G7 at Trump’s property is “completely out of the question.”

And while several of Trump’s staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill say they are not concerned about it — including GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, who told CNN that “the American people are much more concerned about not where it happens, but what happens at the even” — some members of the President’s party are suggesting otherwise.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said he’s “not happy about it.”

“I read the emoluments clause again yesterday,” Kinzinger said on Friday, “and it talks about titles and nobility and all this. I don’t know if it’s a direct violation, but I don’t understand why at this moment they had to do it.”

Grisham claimed that the “site selection process began months ago” and was overseen by the State Department. She said the selection team looked at venues in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

“Much of the criteria remain the same as past Administrations,” Grisham wrote, citing considerations such as on-site accommodations, helicopter landing zones, weather and proximity to medical facilities.

But a source familiar with the selection process told CNN Friday the resort was not on the suggested list of venues recommended to the White House in part because of ethics concerns about having the G7 at a Trump property. The concerns extended to all Trump properties, which officials did not include on the original list.

People involved in the search process were stunned when the announcement about the selected location was initially made, the source said.

The State Department hired contractors with experience in doing advance work for Trump and then the list was compiled. The White House counsel’s office weighed in on the decision and conducted an analysis, but ultimately signed off despite concerns about the optics.

According to the source, every quarter the Trump organization calculates what profits have been made from foreign entities and then cuts a check to the Treasury Department. However, the source said it wouldn’t factor in the at cost business to Doral it wouldn’t otherwise receive and the marketing from holding the summit there.

At a Thursday press briefing, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney addressed the concern that hosting the G7 there already creates profit by highlighting the resort, asking reporters to “consider the possibility that Donald Trump’s brand is already strong enough on its own.”

Mulvaney told reporters it was Trump who brought up the idea of hosting the G7 at Doral, explaining: “We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and he goes, ‘What about Doral?’ And it was like, ‘That’s not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense.’ ”

Staff, he added, “sat down and went to go look at it” following the suggestion.

Mulvaney repeatedly referred to a cost analysis during his remarks to reporters. The White House has not made public such an analysis, despite requests to release it.

The White House has not said who made the final decision on where to host the summit.

10th parent in college admissions scandal sentenced to one month in prison

WQAD News -

(CNN) — A father who paid $75,000 to inflate his daughters ACT scores in a massive college admissions scandal was sentenced to one month in prison Friday, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Robert Flaxman, a real estate developer and the 10th parent sentenced in the scheme, faced charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. He pleaded guilty in May.

Prosecutors had asked for Flaxman to serve eight months in prison, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a $40,000 fine, saying in a sentencing memo that his “conduct warrants a meaningful term of incarceration.”

Flaxman, they said, had sought out the scheme’s alleged mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, after his daughter performed poorly on the ACT.

Flaxman’s attorneys said their client “makes no excuses for his conduct.”

“He knew his actions were illegal when he took them. And he knows that he was no more entitled to break the law to help his daughter than any other parent whose child is at risk,” the attorneys said in the sentencing memo.

“But desperate people do desperate things. He is ashamed that he was weak when most others facing similar situations remain strong; and he is deeply apologetic for putting his own interests over those of other students and parents.”

Three parents to change their pleas

Flaxman’s sentencing came as three parents who had initially pleaded not guilty agreed to change their pleas to guilty.

The US Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that Douglas Hodge, the former CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Company, had agreed to change his plea to guiltyOn Friday, the office announced that Manuel Henriquez and Michelle Janavs have agreed to plead guilty.

All three have new plea hearings set for Monday.

They were among a group of parents who initially pleaded not guilty and were subsequently hit with an additional charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. More than 30 parents were charged in connection to the scandal.

Attorneys for Hodge have not responded to CNN’s request for comment. The attorney for Henriquez was unavailable Friday, a spokesperson for the law firm said.

Bicyclist hit, killed on county road near Muscatine

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MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in eastern Iowa say a bicyclist has died after being hit by a car in Muscatine County.

The Iowa State Patrol tells the Des Moines Register that 56-year-old Michael Joseph Mann, of Muscatine, was biking on a county road near Moscow late Thursday afternoon when a vehicle struck him from behind. Moscow is about 13 miles north of Muscatine.

Mann was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The driver of the car was a 59-year-old man from Muscatine. Investigators have not reported filing charges in the case.

Moline High School to support Student Hunger Drive with annual Empty Bowls Project

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MOLINE, Illinois — Various MHS organizations are holding an annual event to raise money for the 2019 Student Hunger Drive.

The Moline High School Art Department, MHS Interact Club, and National Honors Society are holding the tenth Empty Bowls Project on Tuesday, October 22nd from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The vent is being held at the Moline High School Cafeteria at 3600 Avenue of the Cities.

Students created and donated clay bowls for community members to use at the event to taste soups and other types of food from area restaurants.

The suggested donation amounts are $10 for adults and $15 for students. All proceeds go to the Student Hunger Drive. The program has raised over $29,000 since its inception in 2010.

UK lawmakers vote to delay final Brexit decision again

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LONDON (AP) — In major blow to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.K. lawmakers voted Saturday to postpone a decision on whether to back his Brexit deal with the European Union, throwing a wrench into government plans to leave the bloc at the end of this month.

The prime minister is now required by law to ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure, currently scheduled for Oct. 31. But a defiant Johnson said he still aimed to meet the deadline and would not “negotiate” a postponement with the EU. The bloc said it would wait to hear from the British government about what it wanted to do next.

At a rare weekend sitting of Parliament, lawmakers voted 322-306 to withhold their approval on the Brexit deal until legislation to implement it has been passed.

The vote aims to ensure that the U.K. cannot crash out of the EU without a divorce deal on the scheduled departure date. Johnson, who struck the agreement with the EU earlier this week, said he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the result and would push ahead.

He implied he would request a three-month delay as required but argued against any postponement.

“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” Johnson said. “I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I’ve told everyone in the last 88 days that I’ve served as prime minister: that further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.”

Parliament’s first weekend sitting since the Falklands War of 1982 had been dubbed “Super Saturday.” It looked set to bring Britain’s Brexit saga to a head, more than three years after the country’s divisive decision to leave the EU.

But the government’s hopes were derailed when House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said he would allow a vote on an amendment that puts the vote on the deal off until another day.

The amendment makes support for the deal conditional on the legislation to implement it being passed by Parliament, something that could take several days or weeks. It also gives lawmakers another chance to scrutinize — and possibly change— the Brexit departure terms while the legislation is passing through Parliament.

The government still hopes it can pass the needed legislation by the end of the month so the U.K. can leave on time.

The leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the government would hold a debate Monday on its Brexit-implementing legislation — effectively a second attempt to secure approval for the deal.

It’s unclear whether that would be allowed under House of Commons rules against holding repeated votes on the same question. Bercow said he would make a ruling on Monday.

Opposition lawmakers warned that Johnson must ask for the Brexit extension or face legal consequences.

“Any failure of a prime minister who thinks he is above the law — well, prime minister, you’ll find yourself in court,” said Ian Blackford of the Scottish National Party.

There was drama both inside Parliament and outside, where tens of thousands of anti-Brexit demonstrators marched to Parliament Square, demanding a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU or remain. Protesters, many wearing blue berets emblazoned with yellow stars symbolizing the EU flag, poured out of subway trains and buses for the last-ditch effort.

Bruce Nicole, an Anglican vicar from Camberley southwest of London, said the Brexit deal would harm Britain.

“I fervently believe that we should remain in the EU,” he said. “I am British, but I am also European.”

Inside Parliament, Johnson implored legislators to ratify the deal with the bloc’s 27 other leaders. He said members of the House of Commons should “come together as democrats to end this debilitating feud” over Brexit, which has bitterly divided the country since British voters narrowly chose in a 2016 vote to leave the EU.

“Now is the time for this great House of Commons to come together … as I believe people at home are hoping and expecting,” Johnson told lawmakers.

Johnson called any delay to Britain’s Brexit departure date “pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.” And he warned Saturday that the bloc’s approval could not be guaranteed.

“There is very little appetite among our friends in the EU for this business to be protracted by one extra day,” Johnson said. “They have had three and a half years of this debate.”

EU leaders have made the same point. French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that “the Oct. 31 date must be respected. I don’t believe new delays should be granted.”

The EU was guarded in its response to Saturday’s vote.

“It will be for the U.K. government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible,” EU Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva tweeted.

When push comes to shove, the EU seems likely to grant an extension if needed to avoid a disruptive no-deal Brexit.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country saw the vote as a delay, rather than a rejection of the Brexit deal. For EU leaders, avoiding a chaotic, no-deal Brexit should be the “top priority,” he said in a tweet.

And the European Parliament’s chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt, noted that time was now tight to get the deal approved by the EU legislature before Oct. 31, meaning a short delay might be needed.

If Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in time, Britain could still leave by the end of October. The government plans to introduce the bill next week and could hold late-night sittings of Parliament in hope of getting it passed within days.

Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, failed three times to get lawmakers behind her Brexit plan.

His hopes of getting the deal through Parliament were dealt a blow when his Northern Ireland ally, the Democratic Unionist Party, said it would not back him. The party says Johnson’s Brexit package — which carves out special status for Northern Ireland to keep an open border with EU member Ireland — is bad for the region and weakens its bonds with the rest of the U.K.

To make up for the votes of 10 DUP lawmakers, Johnson has tried to persuade members of the left-of-center Labour Party to support the deal. Late Friday the government promised to bolster protections for the environment and workers’ rights to allay Labour fears that the Conservative government plans to slash those protections after Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dismissed those promises as inadequate.

“This deal is not good for jobs, damaging for industry and a threat to our environment and natural world,” he said. “Supporting the government this afternoon would merely fire the starting pistol in a race to the bottom in regulations and standards.”

A burglar hid in a Costco for hours then stole $13K in jewelry after store closed, police say

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(CNN) — A burglar in the Atlanta area gave new meaning to the phrase “patience is a virtue” — but not in a good way.

Authorities in Coweta County, Georgia, say a man cased a Costco and hid in the store for hours before stealing $13,000 worth of jewelry.

“I’ve never heard of something like this,” Jae Robertson with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office told CNN affiliate WSB-TV. “This is the first case I’ve ever had like this.”

The burglary took place on October 10 after the man went to Costco and walked around before leaving, the affiliate reported. He returned hours later and the store’s surveillance video showed the scheme unfold.

“The suspect or offender walks around and eventually hides behind a display at the front wall of the business,” Robertson said.

Deputies say the man hid behind the display sign for nearly five hours, waiting for the store to clear out and close up, the affiliate reported. Employees said they had no idea the man stayed in the store after it closed.

He first entered the store, waited and left before walking back in at 9:45 p.m. and reemerging after midnight wearing a black ski mask and gloves, authorities said. Video shows the man smashing a glass display and grabbing handfuls of jewelry.

Video from a nearby theater shows the man running out of the store and returning to a truck, authorities said.

First all-female spacewalking team makes history

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world's first all-female spacewalking team made history high above Earth on Friday, replacing a broken part of the International Space Station's power grid.

As NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir successfully completed the job with wrenches, screwdrivers and power-grip tools, it marked the first time in a half-century of spacewalking that men weren't part of the action. They insisted they were just doing their job after years of training, following in the footsteps of women who paved the way.

America's first female spacewalker from 35 years ago, Kathy Sullivan, was delighted. She said it's good to finally have enough women in the astronaut corps and trained for spacewalking for this to happen.

"We've got qualified women running the control, running space centers, commanding the station, commanding spaceships and doing spacewalks," Sullivan told The Associated Press earlier this week. "And golly, gee whiz, every now and then there's more than one woman in the same place."

President Donald Trump put in a congratulatory call from the White House to mark "this historic event ... truly historic."

"What you do is incredible. You're very brave people," Trump told them as they wrapped up their spacewalk.

Replied Meir: "We don't want to take too much credit because there have been many others — female spacewalkers — before us. This is just the first time that there have been two women outside at the same time ... For us, this is really just us doing our job."

NASA leaders, Girl Scouts and others also cheered Koch and Meir on. Parents also sent in messages of thanks and encouragement via social media. NASA included some in its TV coverage. "Go girls go," two young sisters wrote on a sign in crayon. A group of middle schoolers held a long sign reading "The sky is not the limit!!"

At the same time, many expressed hope this will become routine in the future.

Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a three-time spacewalker who looked on from Mission Control in Houston, added: "Hopefully, this will now be considered normal."

NASA originally wanted to conduct an all-female spacewalk last spring, but did not have enough medium-size suits ready to go until summer. Koch and Meir were supposed to install more new batteries in a spacewalk next week, but ventured out three days earlier to deal with an equipment failure that occurred over the weekend. It was the second such failure of a battery charger this year, puzzling engineers and putting a hold on future battery installations for the solar power system.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine watched the big event unfold from Washington headquarters.

"We have the right people doing the right job at the right time," he said. "They are an inspiration to people all over the world including me. And we're very excited to get this mission underway."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent congratulations to Koch and Meir "for leaving their mark on history" and tweeted that they're an inspiration to women and girls across America.

The spacewalkers' main job was to replace the faulty 19-year-old old charge-regulating device — the size of a big, bulky box — for one of the three new batteries that was installed last week by Koch and Andrew Morgan. As the seven-hour spacewalk drew to a close, Mission Control declared success, informing the astronauts that the new charger seemed to be working and the space station was back to full power. The women dragged in the broken unit so it can be returned to Earth early next year for analysis.

"Jessica and Christina, we are so proud of you," said Morgan, one of four astronauts inside. He called them his "astrosisters."

Spacewalking is widely considered the most dangerous assignment in orbit. Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who operated the station's robot arm from inside during Friday's spacewalk, almost drowned in 2013 when his helmet flooded with water from his suit's cooling system.

"Everyone ought to be sending some positive vibes by way of airwaves to space for these two top-notch spacewalkers," Dyson said early in the spacewalk.

Meir, a marine biologist making her spacewalking debut, became the 228th person in the world to conduct a spacewalk and the 15th woman. It was the fourth spacewalk for Koch, an electrical engineer who is seven months into an 11-month mission that will be the longest ever by a woman. Both are members of NASA's Astronaut Class of 2013, the only one equally split between women and men.

Pairing up for a spacewalk was especially meaningful for Koch and Meir; they're close friends. They're also both former Girl Scouts.

It took two decades for women to catch up with men in the spacewalking arena.

The world's first spacewalker on March 18, 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, died last week. NASA astronaut Ed White became the first U.S. spacewalker less than three months after Leonov's feat. Women did not follow out the hatch until 1984. The first was Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya. Sullivan followed three months later.

Friday's milestone spacewalk was the 421st for team Earth.

Flying 10,200 miles in nearly 20 hours — first commercial flight from New York to Sydney departs JFK airport

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(CNN) — And we have takeoff. A research flight set to test human limits on long-haul flights during what will be the first commercial flight to travel non-stop from New York to Sydney has departed John F. Kennedy International Airport.

With 50 passengers and crew on board acting as ultra long-haul guinea pigs, the Qantas Flight 7879 is expected to complete the 10,200-mile journey in 19-and-a-half hours, subject to wind and weather conditions. It is due to arrive in Sydney Sunday morning, local time.

Research will be carried out on passengers and crew, Qantas has said, to quantify the effects flying such a distance has on those on board, including health, wellness and jetlag.

It was reported on Friday that most on board would be Qantas employees, although six Qantas Frequent Flyer volunteer passengers were expected to take part too.

Four pilots will work on rotation during the flight, with two additional pilots in the cabin, Qantas said.

“Months of flight planning has gone in to determining the optimum flight path, including running daily plans to establish wind and weather patterns,” said the airline on its website.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flight is the first of three test flights, dubbed by the airline as “project sunrise,” which will run in October, November and December to gather data.

The next test flight will take place in November, from London to Sydney, while there will be another New York to Sydney flight before the end of the year.

After the test flights, the new planes will enter commercial service.

Quantas has said it hopes to operate direct flights from three cities on Australia’s east coast — Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane — and New York and London by 2022.

Currently the only direct route from Australia to Europe goes from Perth to London, a 9,000-mile journey which started in March 2018.

How will passengers be monitored?

Researchers from Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, Monash University and the Alertness Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre — a scientific program backed by the Australian government — will examine the impact of the long flight on those on board.

Passengers in the main cabin will wear monitoring devices, and experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will study how their “health, wellbeing and body clock” are impacted by a set of variables that include lighting, food and drink, movement, sleep patterns and inflight entertainment.

Those on board have been advised to keep a daily log in the lead-up to the flight and for two weeks afterwards, to show how they feel and how they’ve coped with jet lag.

Pilots and cabin crew will also be monitored and keep sleep diaries. Cameras will be mounted in the cockpit to record pilot alertness.

“People seem to be wildly different when it comes to the experience of jetlag — and we need more research on what contributes to jetlag and travel fatigue, so we can try and reduce the impact of long-haul flights,” Professor Stephen Simpson, academic director of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, told CNN Travel.

“We have a long way to go in terms of understanding how the wide variety of influences — including nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep and light — might work together for maximum benefit.”

Monash University scientists will focus on the flight crew, recording their melatonin levels before, during and after the flights, as well as studying brain wave data from electroencephalogram devices worn by the pilots.

This information will then be shared with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority “to help inform regulatory requirements associated with ultra-long-haul flights,” Qantas said in a statement.

Shower chances for your Saturday

WQAD News -

Starting out our Saturday with a quiet and calm morning. We will remain this way through the late morning hours but cloud cover will begin to increase. A weak cold front will pass through this afternoon and bring scattered showers. Rainfall will be light and only last for one or two hours.

When it’s not raining, expect mostly cloudy conditions for the afternoon and evening with temperatures rising to the 60° mark. After the front passes, clouds will begin to clear out overnight. A concern overnight into Sunday morning will be dense fog, please be cautious if you are out traveling during this time. Overnight low will be a little chillier than last night dipping to the lower 40s.

Sunday is looking like  your weekend’s best with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 60s. A perfect day to do some fun fall activities outdoors!

Monday morning will bring a better chance to see heavier rainfall as a much stronger system passes through. You may hear some thunder and see lightning, but nothing severe expected with these storms. After the system passes, we will be left with very breezy conditions for the first half of the week as well as a drier pattern. Temperatures are also expected to steadily decline into next weekend.

The Score Week 8

WQAD News -

Sterling captures a share of the Western Big 6 title, while Alleman, Rock Island, and Moline all pick up big wins.  In Iowa, Bettendorf bounces back with a dominate win over West.  North Scott stays perfect in District play with a statement win over Clear Creek Amana.

The most highlights and the ONLY 30 minte HS football show in town is The Score!

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