The latest local news

More Illinois homeowners sinking underwater on mortgages

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(Illinois News Network) – Illinois has more homeowners with mortgages that are higher than what their homes could fetch on the market than nearly any other state – and the problem is getting worse.

In the second quarter of 2018, 18 percent of Illinois’ homes were considered seriously underwater, or mortgaged for more than 25 percent of the potential sale price of the house. That’s according to ATTOM Data Solutions’report released Thursday. That’s higher than it has been since 2016. In some of Chicago’s western suburbs, more than 70 percent of homeowners owe 25 percent more than the price their home would sell for.

The national average for the second quarter was 10 percent.

Many of those areas are seeing big home value deficits because buyers pulled the trigger at the height of home prices. Geneva (76.0 percent); Elgin (75.5 percent); St. Charles (73.6 percent); and Sugar Grove (71.9 percent) were behind only Springfield, Missouri, in terms of percentage of residents more than 25 percent underwater on their homes.

“Even though those markets are recovering and home prices are coming back slowly, they haven’t recovered the equity loss during the downturn,” ATTOM vice president Daren Blomquist said.

Twelve of the top 20 markets for percentage of seriously underwater homes were in Illinois.






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Losses in population, seen in nearly every county in Illinois in 2017 Census reports, tend to push home values down since the demand for homes is slowed.

“It even makes it tougher for those who still own homes there to recover equity and, in fact, you may see them lose equity,” Blomquist said.

The city of Peoria, which saw the biggest percentage of population loss in 2017, had 46 and 29 percent of homes in it’s two zip codes register as seriously underwater.

North Korea rejecting US proposals in diplomatic standoff

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(CNN) — The US has made repeated proposals to North Korea on denuclearization, all of which have been rejected, according to senior diplomatic sources.

The United States has made, and continues to make, “specific proposals for starting and proceeding to the end point of fully verified denuclearization,” including a timeline, these sources say.

North Korea has rejected all of these proposals, considering them “gangster-like,” one of the sources said.

The impasse has brought the more typical grind of talks with Pyongyang that have stymied prior administrations.

The promises that emerged from President Donald Trump’s June summit with leader Kim Jong Un have led to a diplomatic disconnect. The document produced after the leaders met included no time frame and no specific promises or milestones to meet.

A ‘bold move’

While the US is demanding full, verifiable denuclearization and says it will maintain sanctions until that happens, North Korea says it wants sanctions pressure lifted and a peace treaty before it will take further steps.

Continued negotiations between the United States and North Korea hinge on Washington’s willingness to make a “bold move” and agree to a peace treaty with Pyongyang, according to an official with close knowledge of North Korea’s position on the matter.

The US has been asking for a big gesture on the part of North Korea, in the form of giving up a portion of its nuclear weapons in the near term. The diplomatic sources did not know of specific percentages or timeframes.

Kim Jong Un is insisting he will make a step towards denuclearization if the US moves on security concerns — likely meaning a peace proposal — but will not move otherwise, the diplomatic sources say.

Pyongyang points to goodwill gestures they say they’ve already made, including a halt in missile testing and the repatriation of US remains, arguing that the US is backtracking.

On Thursday, North Korea issued a forceful statement at the United Nations, saying that elements of the US government are not adhering to the spirit of the dialogue established by Trump and Kim at their Singapore summit.

Pyongyang said while it had taken “such practical denuclearization steps as discontinuing nuclear test and ICBM test fire” and “broadminded measures” like the repatriation of US Korean War remains, “the US responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure against (North Korea).”

The statement, credited to North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, notably did not blame Trump, but singled out “some high-level officials within the US administration,” who it said were going against the President’s will. It also echoed criticism of previous administrations’ approaches to North Korea that Trump himself has made.

The statement seems intended to hit a target audience in the US, being released in English by North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York, rather than just through the state-run Korean Central News Agency, the usual avenue for government announcements.

The State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Warren Buffett’s son announces $30M Illinois investment

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DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — The foundation of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s son plans to invest $30 million in a central Illinois campus of facilities to help people with drug addiction and bring together social services.

The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett announced plans Wednesday in Decatur. Crossing Healthcare, which serves primarily low- and moderate-income residents, will own four new facilities including a residential rehabilitation building and outpatient treatment center.

Howard Buffett says the investment “will address the health of our community at multiple levels.”

Howard Buffett was appointed sheriff in September and was an executive at Archer Daniels Midland. Warren Buffett has helped the Howard G. Buffett Foundation by giving his Berkshire Hathaway stock. The foundation has donated millions of dollars to projects in central Illinois.

CNN contributed the video in this story

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Wacky Recipes for National S’mores Day

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YOU'RE KILLING ME SMALLS! It's National S'mores Day AND it's Friday - What could be better? Our weekly Nailed It Or Failed It segment, of course!

To celebrate this very important holiday, we are trying out three wacky recipes that take your chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows up a notch.

First, we combined S'mores with the very popular Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell and made these S'mores Crunchwraps on Good Morning Quad Cities. Click the video above to see how to make them! Here's the taste test:

Next, on WQAD News 8 at 11am, we attempted to make S'mores Sushi. This one is a little more complicated. Click the video below to see if it worked and then continue onto the next video to see what we made for our very unique Cocktail of the Week!

2 police officers among 4 killed in Canada shooting; a suspect is in custody

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(CNN) — Two police officers were among four people killed in a shooting in Fredericton, New Brunswick, police in the Canadian provincial capital said Friday.

“No names are being released at this time. Please appreciate this is a difficult time for their families and our colleagues,” Fredericton police said on Twitter.

A suspect is in custody, and the crime scene has been “contained,” police said. They said the investigation is ongoing and the suspect is being treated for serious injuries.

Police later said there was “no further threat to the public” and no need for any lockdowns.

A spokeswoman for Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital said it is treating multiple victims in the Fredericton shooting.

The shooting occurred in the Brookside Drive area of the city of about 60,000 people, police said. It took place around 7 a.m. local time.

“This is a developing situation and it is premature to determine whether there are any national security implications. The RCMP is providing support to the local Fredericton police force,” said Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, using the acronym for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

CNN network partner CTV said its reporter there said “police appeared to be focused on one particular residence” and that he heard four shots during a five-minute stretch.

“There is a police officer standing outside with a gun,” CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore said on CTV’s “Your Morning.”

CTV said Moore reported that “police escorted people from their homes” after announcing a suspect was in custody.

New Brunswick is one of Canada’s eastern Maritime provinces. Its premier, Brian Gallant, said in a statement that “we are all shocked and saddened to learn this morning of the ongoing tragic incident.”

“I offer my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. During this difficult time, our thoughts are also with the courageous women and men on the front lines working to keep us safe,” he said.

“At this time, I would ask New Brunswickers, particularly those in areas identified by police, to keep informed about the situation as it develops and follow the instructions of law enforcement officials working in the area.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “We’re following the situation closely.”

“Awful news coming out of Fredericton. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this morning’s shooting.”

Four years ago, three officers died and two others were wounded in a shooting in the New Brunswick city of Moncton.

Growing gun violence in recent years has been an issue in Toronto, Canada’s most populous city.

A shooting rampage last month in that city left two people dead.

Days afterward the Toronto City Council voted to push the Canadian government to ban the sale of handguns and also for the provincial government to ban handgun ammunition sales within the city.

436 sick, 20 hospitalized due to parasitic illness linked to McDonald’s salads

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The CDC now says 436 people have been diagnosed with a laboratory-confirmed intestinal illness linked to salads sold at McDonald’s.

The cyclospora infection is part of an ongoing outbreak that began in May.

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a statement confirming 395 illnesses. That number increased to 436 this week.

At least 20 people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.

The cyclospora parasite causes intestinal illness in people who consumed contaminated food or water. Symptoms can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite. They include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who are infected might also experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas, and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.

The illness can last a few days to a few months, and patients might feel better but then get worse again. Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics.

Illnesses have been reported in 15 states: Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. However, the patients in Connecticut, Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia bought their salads in Illinois while traveling, and the Florida patient bought the salad in Kentucky.

The FDA said an unused package of a Fresh Express salad mix of romaine lettuce and carrots that had been distributed to McDonald’s tested positive for the presence of Cyclospora though it was past its July 19 expiration date.

“Epidemiologic evidence indicates that salads purchased from McDonald’s restaurants are one likely source of these infections. The investigation is ongoing, and FDA is working to determine the sources of the ingredients that were in common to the salads served at McDonald’s,” the CDC said in an outbreak update posted on its website Thursday.

McDonald’s said in a statement on July 13 that it had removed the salad mix from it’s impacted restaurants and replaced it with a different supplier.

In a recall statement on the Fresh Express website, the company said it had launched a “precautionary recall” of the institutional food service product on July 27 of a “limited number of cases.”

The statement said, “Fresh Express follows rigid food safety requirements and preventive controls throughout our supply chain that are carefully designed to mitigate against potential health risks.”

The company’s salad mix recall was connected with a public health alert issued on July 30 by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service advising consumers that certain salad and wrap products might be contaminated with cyclospora. The products were sold by grocery stores including Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Walgreens.

In the alert, the USDA said the issue was discovered when Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods “received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled.”

The lettuce from McDonald’s that tested positive for the cyclospora parasite was in the same lot as the lettuce distributed to Caito Foods, the CDC said Wednesday. “Fresh Express also reported that no romaine lettuce from the lot that was positive for cyclospora was packaged for direct retail sale to consumers,” the CDC said.

Deputies involved in Mercer County shooting cleared

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MERCER COUNTY, Illinois - An external investigation has found that the officer who fired his gun and struck a suspect near Viola, Illinois was acting in self-defense.

At a press conference on Friday, August 10, Mercer County State's Attorney Meeghan Lee said that Deputy Franklin Wade of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department was undercover with Deputy Rodney Taylor while investigating the illegal sale of firearms in Mercer County on the night of June 12.

According to the findings, 29-year-old Alex Cady and 28-year-old Donovan Smith drove up to the parking lot of Midwest Fiber Products in Viola, Illinois.

That's when Smith, who was approaching the undercover officers, got out of his car and began to draw a gun.

Officer Franklin acted quickly and shot Smith.

Smith suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Smith was treated at a hospital and then taken into custody. Cady was also taken into custody.

Both men face charges for illegal gun and drug possession.

The officers were placed on administrative leave while an external investigation was done by a task force made up of 6 entities, including Mercer County, Henry County and the Illinois State Police among others.

The goal of the task force is to provide an objective investigation into what happened when the officer fired his gun.

Ultimately, it was determined that the officer's shooting was justified because he was acting in self-defense.

Both officers have been allowed to return to work.

Smith had been charged with Class X felony of armed violence stemming from a drugs and weapons investigation in the Viola area and also with several drug charges.

According to online court records, Smith was facing federal charges of unlawful transport of firearms.

Cady was facing two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Armed Violence, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

Smith is also now part of a larger federal investigation. Mercer County officials were unable to provide further details on that investigation at the time of a press conference on August 10.

Parents, GMQC crew, give out high fives on first day of school

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SILVIS- George O. Barr Elementary had volunteers encourage students on their first day of school Friday, August 10.

English Language Aide Donna Thurman asked volunteers to give out high fives to students Friday, calling on Meteorologist Eric Sorensen to help out, and because Thurman asked, Angie and I decided to come out as well.

Thurman had signs designed for us and the other volunteers Friday. Pending snow days, the last day of school for kids in the Silvis School District are Thursday, May 24, 2019.

Kids won’t sleep? Disney hotline offers bedtime calls from Mickey

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Having trouble getting your kids to sleep? Maybe Mickey Mouse can help!

Disney store recently launched a new service that will help parents get their children in bed. The company teamed up with pediatric sleep coach Lauren Olson and unveiled a hotline service.

When parents call 1-877-7-MICKEY, Mickey Mouse joyfully answers the call. Mickey will tell your little ones in a playful voice that it’s time to hit the hay.

You can also choose to have Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, or Goofy talk to your children.

Parents should take advantage of the service quickly as it’s only set to run until August 31.

Davenport woman pours rubbing alcohol on disabled baby, Facebook-Lives it

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DAVENPORT, Iowa – A woman was arrested after posting a Facebook Live video of her pouring rubbing alcohol on her two-year-old baby on August 9.

Darshanda McNeal, 29, is facing child endangerment charges after she live-streamed the act to Facebook. Police responded to her residence at 3531 W 43 St. #70 after reports of the video. Police say she said she wanted to kill her baby in the video.

Neither her profile page nor the video were found.

Police say when McNeil was arrested, she said she didn’t know why she did it. Later, she told police she did it “for fun.”

McNeil was taken into custody and put in jail. The baby was transported to the hospital but did not have any physical injuries.

‘Leave immediately’: US Navy plane warned over South China Sea

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(CNN) — High above one of the most hotly contested regions in the world, CNN was given a rare look Friday at the Chinese government’s rapidly expanding militarization of the South China Sea

Aboard a US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane, CNN got a view from 16,500 feet of low-lying coral reefs turned into garrisons with five-story buildings, large radar installations, power plants and runways sturdy enough to carry large military aircraft.

During the flight the crew received six separate warnings from the Chinese military, telling them they were inside Chinese territory and urging them to leave.

“Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding,” a voice said.

The US Navy jet flew past four key artificial islands in the Spratly chain where China has built up fortifications: Subi Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Johnson Reef and Mischief Reef.

On Subi Reef, the Poseidon’s sensors picked up 86 vessels, including Chinese coast guard ships, moored in a giant lagoon, while on Fiery Cross Reef rows of hangers stood alongside a lengthy runway.

“It was surprising to see airports in the middle of the ocean,” said Lt. Lauren Callen, who was leading the air combat crew aboard the Navy flight.

Each time the aircraft was challenged by Chinese military, the US Navy crew’s response was the same.

“I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state,” the response said.

“In exercising these rights guaranteed by international law, I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states.”

CNN has reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Competing claims

The Chinese government staunchly maintains large areas of the South China Sea have been part of the country’s territory “since ancient times.”

Beijing’s “nine-dash line” extends more than one thousand kilometers from its southernmost province, taking in more or less the entirety of the waters, through which the United Nations estimates one-third of global shipping passes.

The South China Sea is also believed to contain rich oil and natural gas reserves that have yet to be fully explored.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei all claim overlapping portions of the sea which spans 3.6 million square kilometer (1.4 million square miles), but the most far-reaching claims have been made by China.

Beijing’s sovereignty claims are considered by most other countries as unsubstantiated, a view backed by an international tribunal in 2016.

Despite this however, little has changed in China’s approach to the region in recent years.

To reinforce its claims of sovereignty, Beijing has been reclaiming land on and around reefs and shoals to construct artificial islands which are then militarized with airfields and radar equipment.

China has spent much of the past two years fortifying these islands, including placing missiles on the Spratly island chain during naval exercises in April.

This is despite a promise made by President Xi Jinping to then-US President Barack Obama in 2015 that the Chinese government would not be militarizing the artificial islands.

Rapid expansion

The last time CNN was given access to a US Navy mission over the South China Sea was in September 2015, when the aircraft was also warned off by Chinese military.

Since then, Beijing’s island building in the contested waters has moved forward at a rapid pace.

Flying over Fiery Cross Reef on Friday, a five-story building was visible, as well as a large radar installation, which looked like neatly arranged golf balls on the Navy plane’s infrared camera.

Though no Chinese missiles were seen on Friday’s flight over the South China Sea, Navy officers said some of the structures seen could potentially be used to house them.

Cmdr. Chris Purcell, who leads Patrol Squadron Four which undertook Friday’s mission, said the US has been doing these flights for five decades and they show US commitment to maintaining free passage in international waters.

“The reason we’re here hasn’t changed,” Purcell said. “The reason (the Chinese) are here has changed.”

Within hours of the trip, Chinese state tabloid Global Times posted a reaction to CNN’s report on its Chinese-language website. The article called for all readers to “give a thumbs-up to Chinese servicemen”for their defense of China’s territory.

China claims US sparking militarization

Beijing says its growing military presence in the South China Sea is necessary to protect its sovereignty, blaming Washington and its allies for tensions in the region.

Chinese military exercises in April included the largest naval parade in the country’s history, with President Xi Jinping overseeing drills that included 10,000 troops, 48 naval vessels and 76 fighter jets.

Beijing points to the regular US Navy patrols and flyovers of the South China Sea as an example of US militarization and provocations, and a justification for the increased Chinese military presence.

“By playing up the so-called China’s militarization in the South China Sea, certain people in the US are staging a farce of a thief crying “stop thief”,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in May. “It is self-evident to a keener eye that who is militarizing the South China Sea.”

In the past year, the US has stepped up freedom of navigation operations in the region, sailing US naval vessels within miles of China’s artificial islands across the South China Sea.

The exercises, which the US also conducts in other parts of the world, assert the navy’s right to travel wherever it pleases in international waters, a vital component of Washington’s naval power across the world.

Time may be running out to effectively challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea however.

Adm. Philip Davidson, the recently installed head of the US Pacific Command, told Senators during a confirmation hearing in April that China is already very firmly entrenched.

“China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” Davidson said.

The McGold Card is real, and it could get you free McDonald’s for life

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The stuff of pop culture rumors and fast food lovers’ dreams, the McGold Card does indeed exist, McDonald’s confirms.

“The mysterious McGold Card, which for years has been rumored to grant a select few free McDonald’s, for life, is in fact real and returning for one fan,” the company said in a press release.

The McGold Card doesn’t necessarily mean unlimited food however. According to the fine print, the winner can collect two free meals per week for 50 years.  McDonald’s is also going to award a custom-made mobile McGold Card phone case with the winner’s name engraved in gold.

So how did the McGold Card start? The company said this in a Facebook post:

Back in 1965, a McDonald’s Owner did the unthinkable! By awarding its most loyal customer with the McGold Card, giving the cardholder free McDonald’s for life. Too good to be true? It’s real all right and it will have you seeing gold!

Since then, there have been various rumors of celebrities and businesspeople getting free food for life.  Warren Buffett, Rob Lowe and Bill Gates are said to be among them, but  Business Insider reports that Gates is the only one who has a physical Gold Card.

This is the first time a McGold Card has been awarded in a contest.

To enter the sweepstake, customers need to use the app to make an order between the 10th and the 24th of August. Each time they use Mobile Order & Pay to order, they will gain another entry. It’s also possible to enter via email without buying anything. See the full rules here.

McDonald’s says they will do a random prize drawing “on or about” August 29, 2018.


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