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Military, public invited to funeral of veteran with no family attending

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MADISON, Ind. — An Indiana funeral home is asking members of the armed services, veterans and the public to attend the military burial of a 64-year-old man who died Thursday at a nursing home.

According to a post on Morgan & Nay Funeral Centre’s Facebook page, the unnamed man was a specialist 4 soldier and a Vietnam veteran with no family attending the services.

The Facebook post says Morgan & Nay Funeral Centre firmly believes no veteran should be put to rest alone.

“The individual qualifies for burial and military protocol at the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery here in Madison, and that certainly will happen,” said funeral director Alan Burnham.

Morgan & Nay said they have donated a casket and traveled to Greencastle to pick him up, but those are only materials things.

“Only his cohorts, regardless of branch or rank, know the realities and commitment of military service, with or without war. We thus issue an invitation to all veterans who can accommodate the Tuesday time frame, to please come and honor a comrade who like you sacrificed much for our country. We hope you can join us to create a spirit of family and a closure of dignity,” said the statement.

Services will be held Tuesday, July 16 at 1 p.m. in the cemetery chapel at Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery off Lanier Drive on Madison’s hilltop.

According to the statement, the public is also welcome to show respect and attend the service.

Disturbing charges against a JonBenet photographer

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A 66-year-old Oregon photographer known for taking images of JonBenet in the months before her 1996 murder has been arrested on child pornography charges, reports KEPR.

Police in Springfield say Randall Simons downloaded images using the WiFi of an A&W restaurant near his home, per the Register-Guard. The arrest is getting attention because Simons famously was hired by the Ramsey family in June 1996 to take photos of the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant. She was killed in December.

After her death, Simons came under fire for selling a portfolio of “glamour” JonBenet images.

“I’ll probably never work again,” he said at the time, according to an AP story.

The Register-Guard notes that Simons was arrested in 1998 and accused of walking nude down a street in the town of Genoa, Colo.

He allegedly said to the arresting deputy, unprovoked, “I didn’t kill JonBenet.” (The brother of JonBenet sued CBS after a damning investigation of the still-unsolved murder.)

More From Newser:
Cops Thought He Killed His Parents. He Was Dead All Along
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You’re All Going to Die,’ Cruz Laughs in Chilling Video

Flesh-eating bacteria kills a Memphis man who visited Florida waterways

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OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. – A Tennessee man died Sunday after he became infected with Vibrio vulnificus, a type of flesh-eating bacteria, while vacationing in Okaloosa County, Florida, his daughter said.

“Flesh Eating Bacteria sounds like an urban legend. Let me assure you that it is not. It took my Dad’s life,” Cheryl Bennett Wiygul wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post confirmed by CNN affiliate WCYB.

Vibrio causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States every year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government’s public health agency. People with vibriosis become infected either by consuming raw or undercooked seafood or by exposing a wound to seawater.

A weakened immune system

Wiygul begins her description of her family’s ordeal by noting that her father had a compromised immune system due to cancer.

“He’s battled cancer for many years and has been in the water several times so it didn’t seem like a risk,” she wrote.

Yet due to recent reports of infections in people who visited Florida beaches, Wiygul said, she researched the topic and took precautions when her parents visited from Memphis in early July. Her father “didn’t have any open wounds,” and she made sure the few small scratches on his arms “were super sealed up,” she wrote.

During their visit, she and her parents spent time in a boat on the bay, rode watercraft and swam in a bayou, splashed around a creek, swam in a pool and went to the Destin beach.

“Daddy stayed up late Friday night and watched a movie,” Wiygul wrote, adding that he “seemed to feel fine as he did all week.”

Yet, at 4 a.m. Saturday — just 12 hours after their last swim — he woke with a fever, chills and cramping.

He got worse on the way home to Memphis, Wiygul wrote: “His legs started to hurt severely. He was becoming extremely uncomfortable.”

Baptist Hospital in Memphis admitted him at 8 p.m. and saw a “terribly swollen black spot on his back.” Wiygul’s mother informed medical attendants that they’d been in the water in Florida and so she believed the spot could be necrotizing fasciitis.

The hospital started him on IV antibiotics, his daughter said.

More black spots appeared on his skin, and “he was in a great deal of pain,” she wrote. “At 1 a.m. he became septic and they moved him into ICU. … They said his organs were too damaged and his blood was too acidic to sustain life. He was gone by Sunday afternoon.”

Wednesday’s lab results confirmed Wiygul’s suspicion’s: “Vibrio vulnificus which manifests into necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) ultimately leading to sepsis,” she said.

The hospital confirmed Wiygul’s father was treated there but did not provide further details about his condition; Wiygul has not responded to CNN’s request for further comment.

How Vibrio can be deadly

Most Vibrio infections occur between May and October, when water temperatures are warm. Flesh-eating bacteria stop blood circulation and cause tissue to die and skin to decay, according to the CDC.

More than one type of bacteria can eat the flesh in this way; public health experts believe that group A Streptococcus bacteria are the most common cause of these infections. Vibrio infections occur when someone eats raw or undercooked seafood or when an open wound is exposed to seawater or brackish water.

Blunt trauma that doesn’t tear the skin can also permit entry of flesh-eating bacteria, according to the CDC. Several antibiotics can treat these injuries, though when cases become severe, skin grafts and surgeries may be necessary.

Good wound care is the best way to prevent any bacterial skin infection, according to the CDC. It is important to clean even minor cuts and injuries that break the skin with soap and water. Always clean and cover draining or open wounds with dry bandages until they heal. And see a doctor for puncture and other deep or serious wounds.

The Florida Department of Health also suggests that people “who are immunocompromised, e.g. chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.”

Wiygul said that people “need to know how to be more cautious and how to recognize symptoms,” and she hopes they pass along the information so that “it can help someone else.”

“I am absolutely not trying to scare people from the beach or swimming,” she wrote. “I love the water and so did my Dad.”

How local schools work with the John Deere Classic to fund their organizations

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MOLINE, Illinois– From cheerleaders to choir teachers, football coaches to band kids, the John Deere Classic (JDC) is crawling with volunteers from Quad City area school districts hoping to raise  money for their various programs.

Organizers employed Spectrum Concessions to sell food and drinks at stands located throughout the TPC Deere Run golf course. Various volunteer groups signed up to work the stands and receive a percentage of the profits and tip money when the tournament ends on Sunday, July 14, 2019.

One of the biggest volunteer groups is the Rock Island Music Association who oversee the Oasis, a pavilion-like area where JDC attendees congregate just off Hole #18 and near the Clubhouse. The group has nearly 200 volunteers who signed up to help during the week, according to Pete Carlin, Director of Bands for the Rock Island-Milan School District 41.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Carlin said. “We use it for scholarships for kids, provide meals for them, guests who come visit them, it offsets costs we don’t get from the district.”

Orion Music Boosters, Riverdale Football, UT Junior Panther Football and Bettendorf High School Cheerleading are all just a few of the volunteer groups at the golf tournament.

Carlin and UT Junior Panther Football Director Mike Johnson, both said their best year fundraising was in 2015 when Bill Murray played in the Wednesday pro-am.

The music association raised nearly $17,000, according to Carlin.

Acosta resigns amid furor over Epstein plea deal

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(CNN) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has resigned, a move that comes after furor over a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein.

Acosta has been under renewed scrutiny over his previous role as the US attorney in Miami, during which he negotiated the 2008 plea deal with Epstein. Epstein, a well-connected multi-millionaire, avoided a federal trial at the time and served only 13 months in prison for state prostitution charges over his involvement with underage girls. A Miami Herald investigation published last November described the plea deal, negotiated by Acosta, as the “deal of a lifetime.”

READ: Secretary Acosta’s resignation letter

Acosta’s resignation is effective next Friday. Trump said the labor secretary will be replaced on an acting basis by the current deputy secretary, Pat Pizzella.

Acosta, standing next to Trump outside the White House before the President departed for a trip, said he resigned to remove himself as a distraction.

“I do not think it is right and fair to this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today,” Acosta said Friday. “And so I called the President this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside.”

Trump publicly praised Acosta and said he would have been willing to have him remain.

“Thought he did a fantastic job. He explained it. He made a deal people were happy with … now they’re not,” Trump said from the lawn. “In so many ways I hate what he’s saying now cause we’re gonna miss him.”

But privately, Trump was stewing over Acosta’s fate, according to a senior White House official, as he and aides worried about the steady stream of revelations in the Epstein case.

“There would just continue to be disclosures,” the official said. “There would be questions in this town and on the trail.”

The official emphasized that Acosta was not popular within the White House to begin with, given the grumblings over his perceived lack of enthusiasm for the President’s deregulatory agenda.

“Your well of support is not going to be deep if you’re not going to support the President’s agenda,” the official added.

Renewed scrutiny

Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a new criminal indictment Monday charging Epstein with having operated a sex trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, part of the allegations that have circulated around the politically connected businessman for years. A “vast trove” of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls was also confiscated from Epstein’s Manhattan home, prosecutors said in a court filing.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges in Manhattan federal court on Monday afternoon.

Acosta, in a tweet on Tuesday, said: “The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence.”

The new charges sparked calls for Acosta’s resignation among Democrats, including congressional leadership and presidential candidates, from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

The Justice Department inspector general told lawmakers in January that he is unable to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 2008 plea deal because of statutory limitations.

The White House indicated in March that they were reviewing Acosta’s role in the case and on Tuesday Trump praised Acosta but indicated that the White House would continue to evaluate the situation.

“I can tell you that for two and a half years he’s been just an excellent secretary of labor, he’s done a fantastic job. Now part of it is our economy is so good, our unemployment numbers are at record lows, so many good things are happening, but the fact is he’s been a very good secretary of labor,” he told reporters.

Trump said Tuesday that “a lot” of people were involved in the 2008 case in addition to Acosta.

Work at the department

Acosta, the only Hispanic member of the Trump Cabinet, used his two-and-a-half year tenure to lead the administration’s efforts on apprenticeships, job training and second-chance hiring. He was also at the helm of the Labor Department when the agency scaled back an Obama-era overtime rule that had originally expanded overtime pay.

Acosta’s work aligned with the President’s priorities while serving as secretary by reducing unemployment, as well as implementing the President’s executive order that pushed private sector investment toward apprenticeships and work training.

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Acosta served in roles at the National Labor Relations Board under then-President George W. Bush as well as assistant attorney general for the civil rights division at the Justice Department.

He was also previously the dean of the Florida International University School of Law.

Acosta was selected for the Labor position following an unsuccessful nomination for Trump’s first pick, Andy Puzder, who withdrew his nomination amid scandal.

Puzder, the CEO of the company that owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, faced fierce opposition mostly from Democrats in part related to his position on labor issues as well as the fact that he employed an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.

CNN’s Joe Johns, Allie Malloy, David Shortell, Erica Orden and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

House passes bill extending 9/11 first responders funding for decades

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The House on Friday passed legislation to extend funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2090, weeks after the bill received nationwide attention following impassioned pleas for support from surviving first responders and comedian Jon Stewart.

The bill easily cleared the House with a vote of 402-12, and will now be sent to the Senate, where timing on that vote is not yet clear, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a vote on the legislation.

Moments after the House passage, McConnell’s office issued a statement that the chamber would consider “this important legislation soon.”

“The first responders who rushed into danger on September 11th, 2001 are the very definition of American heroes and patriots,” McConnell said. “The Senate has never forgotten the Victim Compensation Fund and we aren’t about to start now. Nothing about our shared goal to provide for these heroes is remotely partisan.”

There were cheers and clapping on the House floor during the vote, which came after Democrats and Republicans spoke earlier in the day in support of the legislation. At the same time, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York went up into the public gallery above the floor to speak with people who had come to watch the vote.

Ahead of Friday’s vote, Stewart on Friday referred to the House passage as the “semi-finals,” as he continued to pressure Congress to get the legislation to the President’s desk.

“This is the semi-finals,” Stewart said at the press event on Capitol Hill flanked by first responders and members of Congress. “The finals are two weeks from now in the Senate.”

The current law, which was last renewed in 2015, expires next year and the fund’s administrator says it doesn’t have enough money to pay out all current and projected claims.

September 11 first responder John Feal told reporters at the end of last month that McConnell committed to holding a vote to extend the fund, after sitting down with Feal and other 9/11 first responders on Capitol Hill.

“Mitch McConnell made a commitment to the 9/11 community and my team leaders that he is going to help us get a piece of legislation that is going to be passed in the House in July, for an August vote in the Senate,” Feal said at the time.

Stewart, whose vocal — and deeply critical — advocacy on behalf of the bill has drawn national attention, again castigated lawmakers Friday who raised concerns about the program’s cost, citing the world hot dog eating champion in the process.

“It’s like watching Joey Chestnut throw down 70 hot dogs on Coney Island and then at the end of it, not have a Coke because he’s, you know, watching the calories,” Stewart said. “Don’t be nuts here. This is necessary. It is urgent and it is morally right.”

The aftermath of the destruction from the 9/11 attacks has led to severe health impacts on first responders and recovery workers, including lung impairment and cancer, with thousands of death and injury claims.

The death of 9/11 first responder and advocate Luis Alvarez last month sparked an outpouring of grief. On Monday, the lead sponsors of the victim compensation fund bill announced that the legislation will be renamed to honor Alvarez and others.

The bill will be called Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.

“Luis Alvarez, Ray Pfeifer, and James Zadroga dedicated their lives to protecting others and advocating on behalf of those ailing after the 9/11 attacks,” Nadler said in a statement released as part of the announcement of the bill renaming. “It is a fitting tribute to rename this legislation after these heroes who epitomized bravery and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Stewart said Friday he expected the Senate to act soon.

“I fully expect that by August 2nd, we will have our final signing ceremony.”

Scott County Fine Collection program brings in record $1.4 million

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DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The local Delinquent Fine Collection program has brought in a record amount of money to Scott County.

According to Scott County Attorney Michael Walton, the program resulted in a record haul of $1.4 million in the 2018 fiscal year.

The program primarily makes this money from drivers whose licenses have been revoked due to failure to make payments. The Scott County Attorney's office will assist these drivers to set up a monthly payment system and lay out the requirements that need to be met for the driver to renew their license.

Of the collected $1.4 million, $432,646.78 is staying with the county itself, with the remaining million going to the State of Iowa.

This is a slight increase from 2017, where the program brought in the slightly lower amount of $1.3 million.

Related: Debt collection program helps Scott County recover $1.3 million in unpaid fines

To avoid fines, make sure to keep driving information, such as license, insurance, and registration up to date and pay any fines that may be owed to the State.

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC: It’s all in the detailing

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SILVIS, Illinois – They brought out the heavy equipment again to the 2019 John Deere Classic.

They also brought out the guy who could be called The Detail Man.

"I really detail them."

One of the cleanest places at Deere Run may be just off the ninth fairway.

This is where Tanner Reid makes sure the Deere equipment display shines.

Literally.

"I get every crack and crevice, behind the tires, you know, places where the average person is not going to look," said Tanner while giving the Deere equipment display his close attention.

But at the John Deere Classic, everything Deere-related needs to look its best.   Even though most farmers don't mind a little grime.

"It's kinda funny because tractors are supposed to be dirty. They're supposed to be caked on with mud."

But not when Tanner is on duty.

The 33 pieces of Deere equipment out on the course have already been power washed and now get the tender loving care from Tanner with his soft cloth.

"We go through 50 towels a day..."

And his spray bottle of what's called "Waterless Wash and Wax".

"Once we get all the mud off there, the heavy stuff, we're coming by with this waterless wash and wax and it cleans them up and protects them so if it does rain, before or during the classic, it just beads off real nicely."

And every piece of equipment gets the extra pampering touch: the nooks and crannies are wiped clean.

Even the farthest reaches.

And the Deere logo is made spotless.

"We really take our time..."

Reid said he's getting better at keeping the machines up to the standards set by Deere and Company.  He says last year was the first year he didn't have to re-do things so, he says, he's getting the hang of it.

They're treated the same: whether it's a small Deere E170 lawn mower or a huge 9900 Forage Harvester.

That David and Goliath comparison is not lost on Tanner and the three other employees who make up his small, four year old company: Vibrant Mobile Detail.

"I don't care if you're in Georgia or California, you think John Deere tractor, right?   So it's pretty cool that I am the one detailing these for the Classic."

Tanner, the grandson of former legendary Rock Island coach Duncan Reid, has made a name for himself in the detailing business.  He and his team works the summer months in the Quad City area, then the colder months in Georgia, where he went to college.

But at Deere Run he's leaving a mark.

Or better yet, polishing off the marks on everything that's John Deere green.

"These things really clean up nice."

Muscatine County residents may be eligible for disaster assistance after spring storms

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MUSCATINE COUNTY, Iowa -- Disaster assistance has been made available for residents in Muscatine County after the area sustained damage from severe storms and flooding.

People who were impacted by storms between March 12 and June 15 may be eligible for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for temporary housing and small home repairs.  In some cases, the assistance can help cover other needs like medical and dental expenses or replacing personal property.

Residents have until Tuesday, July 16 to apply for assistance. Click here to register for assistance or call 800-621-3362; phones are open every day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

According to FEMA spokesperson Pamela King, after registering residents should expect a call from an inspector to set up a visit.  Residents should document their damage with photos and videos and make a list of damaged belongings.  Residents also need to contact their insurance agent to see if any of the damage is covered under their policy.  The outcome from the insurance company, whether that be a settlement or denial, needs to be submitted as part of the FEMA registration.

Ten counties in Iowa are eligible for disaster assistance.  Those counties are: Fremont, Harrison, Louisa, Mills, Monona, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Scott, Shelby and Woodbury.

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