WQAD News

Muscatine 911 director arrested for falsifying records

MUSCATINE, Iowa- The Muscatine 911 director was arrested March 20 for “tampering with records”.

According to Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan, Beverly Griffith was booked into the Muscatine County jail for tampering with records, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Griffith has been placed on administrative leave.

“An investigation was conducted. Time sheet records are alleged to be falsified. And yes, she was placed on leave due to the investigation and criminal charge.”-Sheriff Ryan

FDA approves first post-partum depression drug

 

The FDA approved the first-ever drug created to relieve post-partum depression on March 20, 2019.

According to them, the treatment requires a continuous IV drip for 60 hours.

However, they say the drug works instantly.

There are minor side effects including headaches and dizziness.

The drug could cost up to $34,000.

According to the CDC, 1 in 9 mothers suffers from postpartum depression.

 

Woman charged for handing out pot cookies at St. Patrick’s Day parade in Wisconsin

SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. — A Wisconsin woman was arrested after handing out laced cookies at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office.

Cathleen Krause, 57, has been charged with drug delivery, which authorities say happened at a parade in Wescott, a town about 40 miles northwest of Green Bay.

Krause was “visibly intoxicated,” according to a complaint obtained by WLUK.

A deputy tested the cookies and some gummy candy they found on her, investigators say, and both tested positive for marijuana.

She is due back in court April 1.

Pro-life activists protest abortion measures in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois- Hundreds of pro-life activists rallied at the Illinois State Capitol against two abortion measures introduced in the Illinois General Assembly.

Pro-life leaders, legislators, and clergy spoke to the crowd on March 20.  They say they are rallying against "the repeal of parental notification" and "the reproductive health act."

The protests come just one day after the Illinois Senate passed a bill taking aim at repealing legislation that requires a minor to inform her parents before getting an abortion.

YOUR HEALTH: A better way to remove tumors deep in the brain

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Brain cancer is one of the deadliest cancers.

The surgery to remove the tumor is often very invasive.

But now engineers at Vanderbilt University have designed a device that can make surgery easier for both doctor and patient because removing a brain tumor in the center of the head is not an easy task for surgeons.

"Basically you're having to go through a lot of healthy brain tissue to get to that central part of the head."

But a technique that allows surgeons to go through the nose can save that healthy tissue.

However, one problem still exists.

"When they do this, they're using these straight, rigid tools, basically chopsticks that they have to put through your nose," said Vanderbilt University PhD student Andria Remierz.

A team of engineers designed flexible, steerable needles made up of metal tubes that can bend and twist as they move, giving easier access to the site of the tumor.

The team has also used the same tools for diagnosing lung cancer.

"One of the problems they have is at the far out areas of the lung, they have no visualization out there and they also can't steer their biopsy tools to get to those areas," explained another Vanderbilt PhD students, Margaret Rox.

The success rate of diagnosis with existing tools for tumors that are difficult to reach is 60% to 70%.

Researchers say with this new technology adding to existing tools like the bronchoscope the success rate could get to 100%.

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   The most common treatments for brain cancer are radiation therapy, radiosurgery, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and minimally invasive brain surgery.   Both surgeries allow patients to go home either the same day or one to two days later, but the therapies require multiple trips.   One difficulty that surgeons have is when the tumor is in the center of the brain. Usually surgeons must go through a lot of healthy tissue to access it.

"The faster you can get that diagnosis, confirmation of lung cancer, the faster you can get treatment," said Rox.

Risks for current methods for lung biopsy include lung collapse or bleeding due to the surgeon not being able to see clearly to get to a difficult to reach lung lesion.

Developers say this new technology would allow the surgeon much better visibility and reach to more accurately target far off tumors.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

Attorneys: Church list of accused Illinois clergy incomplete, Peoria Diocese responds to report

The Diocese of Peoria issued a response to the released information today.

“The section of this report that directly pertains to the Diocese of Peoria lists 29 priests. 26 of these 29 priests have been listed on the Diocese of Peoria website for some time and have been made publicly known. These 26 priests have been reported to the appropriate State’s Attorney. It is important to note that the majority of the 29 names released today are deceased. Furthermore, the allegations of abuse dated back several decades.”

The statement mentions 3 priests specifically.

Fr. Frank Martinez: “He is a priest of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, and is listed on their diocesan website. The Diocese of Peoria has never received an allegation of abuse regarding Fr. Martinez.”

Msgr. Charles Beebe: “Jeff Anderson’s report today stated that the Diocese of Peoria only reported this case after a lawsuit was filed. This is completely false.”

“In June 2018, the Diocese of Peoria received an allegation that Msgr. Beebe sexually abused a person in 1981 (37 years ago). Msgr. Beebe was immediately placed on administrative leave and cooperated with the investigation. This allegation was immediately reported to the Peoria Police Department. The police investigated this accusation and reviewed Msgr. Beebe’s personnel file. They concluded their investigation and acknowledged the Diocese’s cooperation in this matter. This allegation was taken to our Diocesan Review Commission. The Commission unanimously determined that the allegation was unsubstantiated and could not be deemed credible. Msgr. Beebe was reinstated in ministry. Msgr. Beebe is a retired priest since 2016. This case has been reported to the appropriate State’s Attorney. All of these actions of the Diocese occurred months before any lawsuit being filed.”

Msgr. Thomas Maloney: “While Msgr. Maloney was alive, an allegation was received. He was immediately placed on administrative leave. This allegation was taken to the Review Commission and it was unanimously determined to be unsubstantiated.
Later after Maloney’s death, the Diocese entered into a settlement agreement. As is often the case with settlements, the Diocese makes no admissions of liability. This case has been reported to the appropriate State’s Attorney.”

CHICAGO (AP) — Advocates for clergy abuse victims released the names Wednesday of 395 priests and lay people in Illinois they say have been publicly accused of sexually abusing children — a roster more than twice as long as what the state’s six dioceses previously released.

See the list yourself HERE

Attorneys handed out a 182-page report that includes the names, assignment histories and, in most cases, photographs of the clergy. They said their list has at least 200 more names than church leaders disclosed because the church only lists those it determines have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with children.

“We’ve chosen to reveal this information because the Catholic bishops and the religious orders who are in charge and have this information and hold it secret have chosen to conceal it,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota-based attorney and longtime advocate for clergy abuse victims. “We have chosen to reveal it.”

Anderson said he and others began collecting the names from lawsuits, news reports and other sources after a blistering report by the Illinois attorney general. The report concluded Catholic dioceses in the state had not released the names of at least 500 clergy accused of sexually abusing children and that the dioceses had done a woefully inadequate job of investigating allegations and in some cases didn’t investigate at all. Many of those on the list are dead, and only one of the people named remains in active ministry.

Dioceses in Chicago, Springfield and Joliet all issued statements defending their handling of clergy abuse allegations, and emphasized that they report all allegations to authorities, immediately removing clergy from ministry while they are under investigation.

“These names are not secret, there was no effort to conceal them, they are all reported to authorities,” said John O’Malley, special counsel for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

O’Malley said it was “unfortunate” that some of the names released included clergy who weren’t credibly accused. He said he noticed the names of two priests — one living, one dad — who were cleared by law enforcement and child protection agencies.

The Diocese of Springfield raised questions about the thoroughness of Anderson’s report. It noted that “despite his claims to have diligently and thoroughly reviewed all publicly available information,” he did not apparently notice on the diocese’s website that some of the clergy are dead.

Davenport second grader enlists backup from President Trump to help the homeless

DAVENPORT--  A second grader from John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport is so inspired to make change in her community, she enlisted President Donald Trump to help. Eight-year-old Ellie Valleroy shows us no idea or person is too small to make change happen.

It was a second grade lesson in vocabulary that turned into an opportunity Valleroy couldn't pass up. Mrs. Angie Maxwell's class was working on writing letters.

"Our teacher said we could write to anyone we want," says Ellie.

"One of them sent a letter to the principal. He replied back. Some wrote to their parents.

But not Ellie.

"I wrote Donald Trump. I thought it would be really fun because he's the president, and it was," explains Ellie.

Ellie took her request straight to the White House asking the President to help people who are homeless in her community.

"I feel like since we had that big snow storm that they would freeze outside because it's so cold, and I felt that would be bad, so I want Donald Trump to help," says Ellie. " I want them to get married and have kids and have a good life. I want to help them really bad."

And then, the Commander in Chief himself took his opportunity to listen. He actually replied.

"Dear Ellie, I appreciate you taking the time to write and share your suggestions with me. Mrs. Trump and I are inspired by young people like you who are paying close attention to issues facing our Nation and are trying to find solutions to our most critical challenges. As your president, I want you to know I am listening and will always work hard for you. I encourage you to do your best in school," President Trump writes.

With our country's figurehead on her team and her persuasive vocabulary as a tool, this letter is only the beginning for this pint sized go getter.

"I want to have a food charity for the homeless. And they can come to it. It would be a place where homeless would come and we would give them sleeping bags and pillows, and they could get some food," says Ellie.

Ellie is ready to use the letter as motivation to make change happen.

UPDATE: City of Rock Island says courthouse demolition is on hold

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois  --  The latest road block to the demolition of the Rock Island County courthouse comes from the city of Rock Island.

After a Judge ruled demolition was legal on March 19th, 2019, construction crews now have equipment in place, but the city says nothing can be done until the county gets it's permission.

It's a question of law. As of now, the city believes the county needs a permit from them before demolition can begin. The county says there is a state law that allows them a work around. In other words, the county doesn't need city approval.

"It's a question right now," Rock Island City Manager Randall Tweet said. "It appears there may be some legislation that allows the county to demolish on their own without a permit, so we are just waiting for some information from the county. Once we receive that, our legal staff will review it."

Rock Island city leaders are asking the county to "prove it". The city says the courthouse is a county building and that they are only involved to issue a permit.

"The city follows the normal procedure, Tweet said. "Our only role in this is too issue a permit. We're not trying to speed up or slow down the process, just making sure everything is followed correctly." Tweet says the city is expecting to receive the paperwork about the state law from the county today or tomorrow. Once they get the paperwork, a legal team will review it. "Our only role is to issue a permit," Tweet said. "We just have to make sure all the paperwork is in order and all done correctly. Once we issued a permit, the building could be demolished at any point after that." Tweet says the city and the county have a good relationship and communicate all the time.

"We don't want to get in a big fight or argument over this," he said. "Both sides just wanna make sure we go through the correct procedures."

The permit the city is looking for is a state mandated storm water permit. It's an Illinois EPA requirement to make sure the demolition doesn't harm neighboring areas.

"It's just one of the things that's required," Tweet said. "The county was notified by the EPA that they needed to have that permit. That would be one of the things that would be required before we were to issue the permit, if it came down to that."

Once the city receives the paperwork, they will see if the county needs a permit from them. If the county does need the city permit, a storm water runoff permit will be required, then demolition can take place.

If the county does not need a permit from the city, demolition can happen at any time.

Wheel of Misfortune; Julian Pauwels-Casco

Each Wednesday on News 8 CrimeStoppers of the Quad Cities introduce the community to one of the area's most wanted criminals.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the "Wheel of Misfortune" landed on 25-year-old Julian Pauwels-Casco. He's 5'9", 160 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. He is wanted in Rock Island County for probation violation and aggravated battery.

He is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers. Tips leading to an arrest could be eligible for a $500 reward.

Lacey trial continues, her own daughter and boyfriend taking the stand

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Today marks day two of the Latrice Lacey trial in Scott County.  Lacey is the Director of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and is accused of attacking Clyde Richardson with a sledgehammer last April.

Lacey sat in a Scott County courtroom for the second day of the trial as more witnesses were brought before her.

She’s accused of attacking Richardson outside the 400 block of Pershing Avenue in Davenport in April 2018.

“Once the hammer became involved that was when Mr. Richardson went at Ms. Nelson and swung the hammer,” says Detective Eric Roloff of the Davenport Police Department.

That attack between Richardson and Lacey was recorded on a security camera located across the street outside an apartment building on Pershing.

“She said in a jokingly manner, “I should shoot him, I should go get a permit”,” remembers Roloff.

Detective Roloff believes Richardson and Lacey were once in a romantic relationship according to a previous text message conversation.

But, Lacey’s family says the relationship turned toxic back in January last year.  Her daughter, Arianna Boyce, testifying before the jury while demonstrating a time when Richardson tried to choke Lacey.

Also called to the stand, Lacey’s current boyfriend, Charles Davis, who says Richardson damaged his car three times before this April attack.

“We were putting the car in the garage because it was constantly getting damage,” comments Davis.

It was that damage to the car, the state says, that drove Lacey to attack Richardson on that spring day.

Lacey faces three counts of domestic abuse and one count of first-degree harassment.  The trial will continue tomorrow with the final witnesses and closing argument.

Injured chicken gets wheelchair at sanctuary

LUTHER, Okla. - We've seen dogs in wheelchairs, but what about a chicken? It may seem odd, extreme or even a bit funny to some, but an Oklahoma farm sanctuary said the story of how she got there points to a bigger problem.

Though the story is a bit unusual, so are the stories of most of the animals at Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary.

You may remember Milo, the puppy born with upside down paws whose story spread across social media a few months ago. After a successful surgery, his story was shared around the world.

"We saved a puppy, and we were heroes," Jennie Hays of Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary, told KFOR. "We save a chicken, and maybe people think that we're nuts. But, that's okay."

Yes, it may be a bit odd, but Hays and her team are determined to save the bird named "Colorado." It's a name that comes with a story. That's where Hays said the Cornish hen was rescued from a defunct factory farm.

"There were - I think it was 13,000 chickens that needed to find a place to go," Hays said.

Oliver and Friends took in 25 very sick chickens with the help of a Colorado animal sanctuary named "Luvin Arms."

Though it may be hard to believe, Colorado and her friends are only a few months old. They're bred to be big.

"It's all about production, so the faster they grow, the bigger they grow," Hays said.

Colorado's legs could no longer support her.

Hays considered euthanasia. That is, until her husband got on Google, saw a chicken in a wheelchair and started building.

"So, ever since she got the wheelchair, her sparkle's back," Hays said.

They are now focused on keeping all the chickens at a healthy weight through exercise and a diet of low fat feed and fresh greens - a chicken salad, if you will.

"We honestly believe here at Oliver and Friends that every animal deserves the chance to live their best life as pain-free as possible," Hays said.

Hays said it's not clear yet if the other birds will end up needing wheelchairs too. They are hoping diet and exercise will keep them on their feet.

Mom on popular YouTube show accused of pepper-spraying her kids when they flubbed their lines

(CNN) — The “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel has racked up more than 250 million views with its adorable cast of seven adopted children, silly topics and charmingly low-fi visual effects.

Behind the scenes, though, the children told a different story. A welfare check last week found the home was a den of abuse in which their mother would withhold food and water for days at a time, pepper-spray them, force them to take ice baths and lock them in a barren closet, according to a statement of probable cause in Maricopa, Arizona.

“They stated they are disciplined in the manners above if they do not recall their lines or do not participate (in the videos) as they are directed to,” the probable cause statement said.

“They further stated this is one of the reasons their mom took them out of school so they can keep filming their series and they mentioned they have not been in school for years.”

Police on Friday arrested their mother, Machelle Hackney, 48, on two counts of molestation of a child, seven counts of child abuse, five counts of child neglect and five counts of unlawful imprisonment.

Her adult sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, also were arrested Friday. They face seven charges each. They are accused of failing to report the abuse of a minor.

The three are being held without bond. A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said they did not yet have an attorney.

In the police report, Hackney said the closet in her room is never used for punishment, and denied the accusations involving pepper spray and ice baths. She said the only forms of punishment she uses are having to stand in the corner, spankings and being grounded, the statement said.

Ryan Hackney invoked his Miranda rights, but Logan Hackney spoke to police and said the children were locked in the closet, pepper sprayed, and forced to take ice baths, the statement said.

What a welfare check found

Hackney’s YouTube channel posts a new video about once a week and boasts nearly 800,000 subscribers. With titles like “The FLOOR IS LAVA!” and “Escape The Babysitter!” each of the 10- to 15-minute episodes features the family of cute children in lightsaber battles, turning into superheroes or attempting to steal cookies.

The statement of probable cause details a visit that welfare officers made to the home on March 13 after getting a tip from an adult daughter, who said one of the children said they were being abused.

During the welfare check, one child was found in an unlocked closet, which has a locking mechanism, wearing only a pull-up diaper, the statement said, adding that the other six children appeared to be malnourished. It said they had pale complexions, dark rings under their eyes, were underweight and they said they were thirsty and hungry.

According to the probable cause statement, one of the children drank three 16-ounce bottles of water within 20 minutes and said he had been pepper sprayed numerous times as punishment by his mother. Another child said she was extremely hungry and was given a bag of chips on the scene. However, she was afraid to eat the chips because she didn’t want her mother to smell them on her breath, the statement said.

The Department of Child Safety then removed the seven children from their mother’s custody.

A search of the home found two cans of pepper spray in the mother’s room, and the closet in her bedroom had a deadbolt lock and a bare tile floor, the statement said.

In follow-up interviews, one child told of how they were kept locked in a closet for days at a time with no food, water or restroom. They also were pepper sprayed all over their face and body, spanked, forced to take ice baths, and forced to stand in the corner with their arms raised for several hours at a time, the statement said.

“I either get beat with a hanger or belt” “or a brush,” one child said, “or get pepper sprayed from head to toe,” according to the statement.

The child also said his mother would pinch the tip of his penis with her fingernails until it would bleed. Another child said she had been pepper sprayed on her vagina and recalled being in pain for four to five days, the statement said.

YouTube confirmed the channel was demonetized once the company was made aware of the arrest.

Jurors say Roundup contributed to a 2nd man’s cancer. Now thousands more cases against Monsanto await

(CNN) — A federal jury dealt a huge blow to Monsanto, saying its popular weedkiller Roundup was a substantial factor in causing a California man’s cancer.

It’s the second time in eight months that a jury has reached such a decision.

But Edwin Hardeman’s case against Monsanto is the first to be tried in federal court. And thousands of similar cases are still pending at the federal or state level.

“We are very pleased that the jury unanimously held that the Roundup caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” Hardeman’s attorney Jennifer Moore said.

“It was a hard, long-fought battle against Monsanto. And for Mr. Hardeman to have his day in court and to show that Roundup does cause cancer.”

But this trial isn’t over yet. While the first phase focused on whether Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer, the second phase — which begins Wednesday — focuses on whether Monsanto is liable.

Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, insists that glyphosate — the key ingredient in Roundup — is safe.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” Bayer said in a statement.

“We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”

Bayer said the jury’s verdict Tuesday “has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.”

Another cancer patient was awarded $78 million

It’s unclear how much the jury might award Hardeman in damages, if anything at all.

But last August, in the first state trial over whether Roundup can cause cancer, California jurors awarded former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

A judge later reduced the total award to $78 million. But Johnson’s attorney Timothy LItzenburg said his client has not seen much of it because Monsanto is appealing.

Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because doctors said he was near death. And in California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials.

Litzenburg said he and other attorneys have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.

One advantage of filing in state court rather than federal court is that state courts often produce outcomes faster — which can be critical for terminally ill patients.

But Hardeman’s case is in federal multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

MDL is similar to a class-action lawsuit because it consolidates pre-trial proceedings when there are multiple plaintiffs, for the sake of efficiency.

But unlike a class-action lawsuit, each case within MDL gets its own trial — with its own outcome.

In other words, one MDL plaintiff might get a large settlement, while another plaintiff might get nothing.

The heated debate over glyphosate

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who used Roundup started suing Monsanto by the hundreds after a World Health Organization report suggested glyphosate might cause cancer.

The 2015 report, by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, said glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

But Monsanto has long maintained that Roundup does not cause cancer, and said the IARC report is greatly outnumbered by studies saying glyphosate is safe.

“More than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer,” Monsanto Vice President of Strategy Scott Partridge said in August.

He highlighted the Agricultural Health Study, which concerned the effects of glyphosate products on farmers from 1993 to 2013.

summary of that study said “no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).”

In most cases of lymphoma, the cause is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society.

Yet critics question whether Monsanto has had undue influence over regulators.

In a 2015 internal company email, a Monsanto executive wrote that an EPA official at the time offered to help quash another agency’s review of glyphosate, saying “If I can kill this I should get a medal.”

But a Monsanto spokeswoman said the company has never paid, given gifts to or done anything else to curry favor with anyone from the EPA.

While debate continues over whether glyphosate is safe, parts of the country are limiting or banning it, said the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

“Following the state court decision last year, we saw a huge uptick in local ordinances that would regulate the use of Roundup on playgrounds, schoolyards and public parks,” said PIRG’s Kara Cook-Schultz, who leads a campaign to ban Roundup.

“For example, the city of Miami just banned the use of glyphosate. With this decision [Tuesday], we expect to see the same explosion in awareness.”

Hundreds of hotel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online

(CNN) — About 1,600 people have been secretly filmed in hotel rooms in South Korea, with the footage live-streamed online for paying customers to watch, police said Wednesday.

Two men have been arrested and another pair investigated in connection with the scandal, which involved 42 rooms in 30 accommodations in 10 cities around the country. Police said there was no indication the businesses were complicit in the scheme.

In South Korea, small hotels of the type involved in this case are generally referred to as motels or inns.

Cameras were hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets and hairdryer holders and the footage was streamed online, the Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement.

The site had more than 4,000 members, 97 of whom paid a $44.95 monthly fee to access extra features, such as the ability to replay certain live streams. Between November 2018 and this month, police said, the service brought in upward of $6,000.

“There was a similar case in the past where illegal cameras were (secretly installed) and were consistently and secretly watched, but this is the first time the police caught where videos were broadcast live on the internet,” police said.

South Korea has a serious problem with spy cameras and illicit filming. In 2017, more than 6,400 cases of illegal filming were reported to police, compared to around 2,400 in 2012.

Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul and other cities to protest against the practice and demand action, under the slogan “My Life is Not Your Porn.”

In response, Seoul launched a special squad of women inspectors who have been conducting regular inspections of the city’s 20,000 or so public toilets to search for spy cameras, though some critics have denounced the move as a superficial response to a societal issue.

Lee Ji-soo, a computer specialist who helps women scrub the web of images taken without their consent, told CNN last year her company had seen a surge in demand since the protests drew attention to the issue.

“The most common things that the clients are saying — and they are quite heartbreaking — are ‘I want to die’ or ‘I cannot leave my house.’ Especially the victims of spy cam or illegally taken videos say that when they encounter people on the street, they feel like they would be recognized,” she said.

In January, the co-owner of a South Korean revenge porn site was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $1.26 million. Soranet, which was shut down last year, was a popular site for uploading videos and photos taken using hidden and upskirt cameras.

Man crushed to death by bulldozer during police chase over 10 pot plants, lawsuit says

The family of a Pennsylvania man killed after he fled a clearing where he was growing 10 pot plants fault state authorities for chasing him with equipment similar to “a military tank.”

Though his friend was arrested at the game preserve in Berks County on July 9, 2018, Gregory Longenecker, 51, took off into brush so thick even a tracking dog couldn’t get through, reports the Washington Post.

With a helicopter overhead, a state trooper boarded a bulldozer with a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, who’d been using the equipment when he’d spotted a car that didn’t belong.

Hours into cutting a trail, the pair found Longenecker dead. According to investigators, the suspect, who was found to have a “toxic level” of methadone and methamphetamine in his system, had crawled between the treads when the bulldozer briefly stopped. Its next move was to the left.

Practically every bone from his pelvis to his collarbone was crushed, lacerated, or broken, per a lawsuit filed Monday by family members, who doubt Longenecker hid beneath the machine.

They say the state trooper and Game Commission employee acted against “all common sense and respect for life.” Instead of utilizing machinery “with similar force and characteristics of a military tank,” troopers should’ve waited for Longenecker to emerge, or approached him later, as he wasn’t a threat to the public.

However, District Attorney John Adams argues the family would’ve been angry if Longenecker, who refused to surrender, had gotten injured after troopers left, per the AP.

The DA’s office ruled in August that the actions of state police “were reasonable and conducted in a safe manner,” though the ACLU disagrees.

(Read more Pennsylvania stories.)

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BMW stolen in Sterling could be tied to business burglary, police say

STERLING, Illinois — Police are trying to track down a stolen car that may be tied to the report of a business burglary that happened in Sterling.

The car, a white BMW, was reported stolen around 8:20 a.m. on Friday, March 15, according to Detective Maggie Ellmaker with the Sterling Police Department.   It was stolen out of the 800 block of East 3rd Street, just a few blocks north of the Rock River.

Detective Ellmaker said the department was asking for help finding the BMW because they believe it’s connected to a burglary reported at a Sterling business that happened around the same time.

“We’re trying to locate the vehicle and hopefully that can give us a lead to the burglary,” said Detective Ellmaker.

The car was described as a white four-door BMW 335i series, said Detective Ellmaker.  She said the car has Police Memorial license plates with numbers AK49-IP.  The BMW has a Chicago Blackhawk’s sticker on the back windshield and a German Shepherd sticker on the trunk.

The stolen vehicle is not involved with any rash of thefts, said Detective Ellmaker.   She mentioned that since it’s a higher-end vehicle, it could potentially stick out among the town.

More information on the business burglary was expected to be released in the coming days.

Elizabeth Warren backs plan to get rid of the Electoral College

(CNN) — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the first time on Monday night said that she would back a plan to do away with the Electoral College.

The process, she said, effectively disenfranchises voters in states dominated by one of the two parties.

“Come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi. They also don’t come to places like California or Massachusetts, because we’re not the battleground states,” Warren said at a CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi.

In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated President Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes in the popular vote by running up big leads in Democratic strongholds. But she narrowly lost swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which handed Trump a clear victory on the Electoral College map.

“My view is that every vote matters,” Warren said as the applause in Jackson began to build into an ovation, “and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College — and every vote counts.”

There are already efforts at the state level to diminish the effectiveness of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have signed on to a compact agreeing to assign their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of the outcomes in their states.

The states will make the switch once enough states have signed on to secure a cumulative 270 electoral votes. Currently California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have signed on, totaling 181 electoral votes. New Mexico and Delaware are also considering legislation to join the interstate compact.

Colorado joined the group last week. If New Mexico and Delaware pass their own legislation it will move the compact eight votes closer to the 270-vote majority.

Although most states have winner-takes-all policies for their Electoral College votes, Maine and Nebraska split their electors proportionally based on the states’ popular votes.

Why the American Red Cross wants to install smoke alarms in your home

In just a month's time, nine people in the Quad Cities area have died in fires, five of them were children.

In an effort to save lives like those, the American Red Cross is offering free smoke detectors for area families.

Wednesday, March 20 is "Sound The Alarm" registration day, where community members are invited to call 309-743-2166 x5 to sign up for free installation.

Read More: How you can get free smoke detectors installed in your home

The final supermoon of the year occurs as an asteroid zips close by

(CNN) — The third and final supermoon of the year will light up the sky on March 20, closing out a trifecta of supermoons for 2019 that began in January.

March’s full moon also happens on the same day as the spring equinox, welcoming in the season. The last time these two things happened on the same day was March 1981.

The moon will appear brighter and bigger in the night sky and hopefully no clouds and inclement weather will obscure the view. The closest supermoon this year was in February.

No matter what timezone you’re in, look out for the supermoon at 9:43 pm ET on Wednesday. If you miss it, the Virtual Telescope Project will be sharing a live stream of the supermoon over the monuments of Rome.

March’s full moon is also known as the Full Worm Moon. Traditional and Native American names for each full moon of the year are derived by how they helped to track the seasons. In this case, the ground began to soften in March so that earthworms could appear, drawing more birds to feed, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. This moon is associated with spring for that reason.

The arrival of spring and the supermoon will also nearly coincide with an asteroid passing close to Earth, according to the Minor Planet Center. The asteroid, 2019 EA2, will zip by Earth at 190,246 miles away — closer than the moon. It’s 79 feet in diameter, slightly larger than the asteroid that streaked through the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013.

It’s an aten asteroid, or a near-Earth asteroid with an Earth-crossing orbit

But the asteroid is expected to pass by safely and without incident on March 21 and 22, depending on where you live.

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