The latest local news

Local love for craft beer prompts expansion for Crawford Company

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- A vacant building in Rock Island is being re-purposed, thanks to the popularity of craft beer.

Crawford Company has purchased what once was Hughes Tire and Brake at the corner of 31st Avenue and 8th Street.  Owner, Ian Frink, said they needed more space for their booming business making brewing equipment.

"The number of craft breweries goes up every year and we've seen an uptick in that and we've been able to build into that," said Frink.

Over on Mill Street, they've been building brewing essentials like fermenters and brew tanks, but in about a 4,000 sq. ft. space.  The new building has about 20,000 sq. ft.

"It's kind of a win-win for Crawford, because we have this extra space but it's also good for the city because this is on a main corridor and this is an existing building," said Frink. "So we're renovating and repurposing a building that's been around for a long time."

Crawford Brewing Equipment has been installed in 75 breweries across the country, and four in the Quad Cities area.

"I think the Quad Cities has built itself as a little bit of a regional hub for micro-breweries," he said. "There are a lot of micro-brews here and then being able to be located here and centered here is great."

Frink said the company plans to start production at their new location this summer. They also plan to bring on a handful of welders to join their staff.

Event planners prepare for high temps this weekend

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BETTENDORF, Iowa-- A busy weekend is coming up in the Quad Cities, and event planners are trying to find ways to beat the heat.

The TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf is hosting a youth baseball tournament this weekend.

BettPlex has ten fields, all with artificial turf, making temperatures climb even more for athletes.

"It does radiate even more heat than what we're feeling," said Kira Barbeck, director of marketing. "So again, when it comes to the athletes, we make sure that they have the coolers inside those dug-outs, so that when they're not on the field, they're getting the ice, the towels, the water, the Gatorade that they need."

The complex has stocked the concessions with ice, water and cold drinks. There will be extra sun screen to go around.

Across town, Splash Landing is preparing for anything.

"Sometimes especially when it's hot over the weekend, people have other things to do," said Katie McDermott, the pool manager. "Parents don't want to take their kids out. So we're planning for it to be busy. But we're kind of expecting anything."

McDermott said the lifeguards will be keeping a careful eye out for tired kids.

"The heat takes your energy out of you," she said. "We definitely stress to our staff to keep an eye on kids. If kids seem tired or more tired than what they originally saw them, tell the kids to take a break."

As always, Splash Landing will have pool breaks every hour, giving people time to relax and hydrate.

Over in Davenport, crews were preparing for Ride the River. Kathy Wine, executive director of River Action, said there will be free popsicles at the 34th annual Father's Day Family Bike Ride this Sunday.

"Yes, it's on the warm side but we're prepared," Wine said, "and you can be prepared. And we can have a great time."

Wine said they're expecting a thousand riders this year. Registration is open through Sunday morning.

Columbus Junction recalls record 2008 flooding a decade later

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10 years to the day after record flooding nearly wiped out some 20 businesses here, folks in Columbus Junction are pausing to look back on the high water headaches.

It's a hot Friday in mid-June 2018.  This town of 1,900 is high and dry.  But in similar conditions 10 years ago, it was a far different scene.

"There was a possibility that we would have to evacuate," recalled Earlene Lekwa, who was working at Colonel's Kids Child Care at the time.  "A couple days later, we got the call - you've got to get out."

Record flooding began ravaging low-lying businesses, including Colonel's Kids, nearly washing away the Economart grocery store.

City leaders like then-Mayor Dan Wilson decided that unifying under one voice would make their response more effective.

"If it wasn't for the fact that it was what you label a disaster, it was really a positive thing for our community," he recalled.

While most residents were lucky to live on higher ground, businesses weren't so fortunate.  The Senior Center was among the hardest hit.

"Some of the businesses in that area had water halfway up their buildings," recalled Columbus Junction Mayor Mark Huston.  "The fairgrounds was completely under water."

But Columbus Junction learned from past floods.  It worked hard, teamed with the Iowa National Guard, and didn't give up.

"When you bring it up, people almost smile and talk about it," Wilson continued.  "I think they're able to do that because the community worked so hard to fix it and recover."

The flooding in Columbus Junction also produced some unusual events.  There was a wedding on the viaduct during the midst of it all.  Plus, 2008 Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain spent a steamy morning surveying the damage.

10 years later, nearly all the businesses returned - including the grocery store.

These days, levee improvements, new pumps and water upgrades keep it ready to face the future.  A future, they hope, without flooding.

"We have a good community here," Lekwa concluded.  "People just chipped in and went to work."

Man pleads guilty to sending fentanyl to Dubuque overdose victim

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A man who ordered drugs from the dark web and had them shipped to a friend in Dubuque, who died after using the drugs, pled guilty on June 14, 2018, in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Jay Rickert, age 28, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was convicted of willfully causing the distribution of a controlled substance.

At the plea hearing, Rickert admitted that in February 2015, he caused a controlled substance to be shipped from a supplier in Canada to a woman in Dubuque, Iowa.  According to information disclosed at the plea hearing, Rickert intended to order DMT, a Schedule I hallucinogenic drug, from the dark web and have it shipped to his friend in Dubuque.  The supplier in Canada instead shipped the woman fentanyl, a different controlled substance.  A criminal complaint previously filed against Rickert indicated that fentanyl and DMT are both white powdery substances that look virtually identical.  According to the criminal complaint, the woman, believing that the substance Rickert ordered for her was DMT, used the fentanyl and died.  An autopsy concluded that the cause of death was a fentanyl overdose.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Rickert was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the guilty plea and will remain in custody pending sentencing.  Rickert faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and at least 3 years and up to a lifetime term of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lightfoot and was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consisting of the DEA; the Linn County Sheriff’s Office; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Marion Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Dubuque Drug Task Force, consisting of the Dubuque Police Department and the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office.

NASA’s record-breaking spacewoman retires as astronaut

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s record-breaking astronaut, Peggy Whitson, retired Friday less than a year after returning from her last and longest spaceflight.

She’s spent more time off the planet than any other American: 665 days over three space station missions. She’s also the world’s most experienced female spacewalker, with 10 under her spacesuit belt.

Whitson was the first woman to command the International Space Station, holding the position twice, and the oldest woman ever to fly in space. She was also the only woman to have served as chief of NASA’s male-dominated astronaut corps.

Fellow astronauts called her a “space ninja.”

“It’s been the greatest honor to live out my lifelong dream of being a @NASA Astronaut,” Whitson said via Twitter, thanking “all who have supported me along the way.”

“As I reminisce on my many treasured memories, it’s safe to say my journey at NASA has been out of this world!”

The 58-year-old biochemist, who grew up on an Iowa hog farm, joined NASA as a researcher in 1986 and became an astronaut in 1996. Her last spaceflight, spanning 2016 and 2017, lasted close to 10 months.

Only Russian men have spent more time in space: Gennady Padalka holds the record with 879 days over five missions.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called Whitson an inspiration, citing her determination and dedication to science, exploration and discovery.

“She set the highest standards for human spaceflight operations,” Brian Kelly, director of flight operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement, “as well as being an outstanding role model for women and men in America and across the globe.”

Before leaving the space station last September, Whitson said she would miss the orbiting outpost — an “awe-inspiring creation” — and the views from 250 miles up.

“I will miss seeing the enchantingly peaceful limb of our Earth from this vantage point. Until the end of my days, my eyes will search the horizon to see that curve,” she said.

Davenport residents express concerns over Portillo’s

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DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Many people are excited about the potential Portillo's location in Davenport. But residents living near the proposed location have several concerns with the plan.

The City of Davenport held a neighborhood meeting where dozens of people met to express these worries.

Many people said the Portillo's would only make traffic worse on an already busy 53rd Street. Others said their streets would flood even more with water run-off from the new development.

Representatives with the city, including Aldermen Rich Clewel and JJ Condon, said their plan had to weigh residents' needs with what business's wants.

Before the plan moves forward, the area will have to be rezoned from a residential area to a commercial area.

Illinois lawmakers seek changes in schools after CPS sex abuse investigation

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CHICAGO, Illinois (Illinois News Network) – State lawmakers hope to crack down on sexual predators in Illinois’ schools after a investigation showed repeated problems with sexual abuse and assault in Chicago’s public schools.

State Rep. David McSweeney’s filed legislation Wednesday that would make a number of changes, including banning any type of sexual relationship between a student and an authority figure in school. It also would require all complaints of abuse be forwarded to the State Board of Education, and takes an educator under investigation away from the classroom.

A Chicago Tribune investigation found CPS failed to protect hundreds of students from sexual abuse and assault over a 10-year period. It also found lax background checks and failure to report suspected abuse to authorities led to schools hiring educators that would have otherwise been flagged for past problems in the classroom. Some were hired elsewhere after being investigated at CPS. Others went on to commit abuses or be fired by other school districts.

“This is an absolute travesty,” McSweeney said. “It’s a statewide issue, not just Chicago.”

The bill would make engaging in sexual conduct or sexual relations with a student, regardless of age, a criminal offense. This, McSweeney said, is modeled after a Florida law.

“This comprehensive legislation is a solid start and a good base that we can amend as further policy recommendations are given or more legislative gaps come to light.”

One eye-catching provision in the bill is a requirement that law enforcement notify the school superintendent if one of the district’s teachers is arrested.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers could not be reached for comment on the proposed legislation Thursday.

McSweeney said he wants to get the bill passed in November.

The radio man without a voice

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(CNN) — If you’re scanning through radio stations, you may soon hear a familiar but oddly mechanical voice reporting the latest news from Capitol Hill.

Cox radio veteran Jamie Dupree is back on the air Monday after a two-year absence. But the melodious tones that graced the airways for over 30 years sound a bit different today.

Dupree isn’t speaking. Instead, he is typing into a text-to-speech application that uses years of his archived audio to create an artificial voice. He calls it “Jamie Dupree version 2.0.”

“It will be a computer-generated synthesis of my voice,” he told audiences, announcing his return.

A bit robotic, yes, but for Dupree, it’s an answer to a prayer. He abruptly lost the ability to speak in spring 2016, and it hasn’t come back.

Jamie Dupree is the radio man without a voice.

‘The sound would just crack in half’

In March 2016, Dupree was taking a well-deserved break from the grind of covering the presidential campaign. In London on vacation with his wife and three children, he was struck down by a stomach bug.

His health didn’t improve when he got home. Constant diarrhea, a racing pulse and general malaise plagued him. Doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause; that would soon become a common refrain.

The oddest symptom was his voice. It had suddenly become breathy, squeaky, unreliable.

“I would try to say regular words, and the sound would just crack in half,” Dupree wrote in an email, his preferred method of communicating.

Over the next few months, his speech got worse. When Dupree opened his mouth to talk, his tongue would thrust out against his will. The more he tried to talk, the more it protruded, making it impossible to express himself.

“The first couple of words that I say are fine,” Dupree explained, “but as I try to string together a sentence, then the tongue becomes more prominent and the throat clenches, leading to a strangled, strained sound of my voice.”

Trying to whisper produced the same effect, but it didn’t affect his ability to eat or drink. It was like his tongue had a mind of its own.

The search for answers

A merry-go-round of doctors finally found relief for his stomach and heart issues but the most precious thing — his voice — continued to elude them. As did the cause of all his symptoms.

“Like my voice — no one had any answers as to WHY it was happening,” Dupree wrote. “Why was my heart going so fast? Why was my food moving so fast? Something in my body was not working right. But no one could tell me why.”

The Mayo Clinic rejected his appointment application. A week after the Trump inauguration, a doctor at another prominent hospital injected botulinum toxin into Dupree’s vocal cords, hoping to relax his voice.

“That was a personal disaster,” Dupree wrote. “The procedure did nothing for my voice — in fact, it took away what voice I had — and it then resulted in about 8 weeks of swallowing difficulties.”

A visit to the Cleveland Clinic put a name to his condition: a rare mandibular dystonia called lingual protrusion dystonia. It’s part of a group of movement disorders characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause strange, repetitive motions and postures. The most common form, cervical dystonia, affects the neck, causing wobbling or worse, the inability to hold the head upright. Blepharospasmanother kind, is a forced squeezing shut of the eyelids that reduces or blocks vision. Still other dystonias can focus on the legs, hands and feet, even the entire body.

Nearly 250,000 Americans have some type of dystonia, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, making it the third most common movement disorder. Only essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease affect more people.

For Dupree, the relief of having a diagnosis quickly faded.

“[The doctor] told me … very few answers were available. He gave me no real guidance on other doctors to see,” he wrote. “That was a long drive home.”

A club no one wants to join

For a reason no doctor understands, focal dystonia often attacks the part of the body a person uses most for his or her profession. A nationally known radio talk show host, Diane Rehm, has a form of dystonia that affects her vocal cords. Trumpet players will suddenly be unable to use their lips. Guitar players, writers and pianists will lose control of fingers or an entire hand.

“How can you have a disorder where everything about the brain and the hand functions normally except the hand can’t perform one exquisite task like writing or playing a musical instrument?” asked New York neurologist Dr. Steven Frucht, director of the Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Health. A violinist and pianist himself, he treats many musicians with the disorder.

“You would think that this cannot happen,” Frucht said. “And yet after seeing hundreds of patients, I can say it most certainly can. And it does.”

“It’s precipitated by a voluntary movement. When they’re perfectly at rest, not speaking or playing, you can’t tell there’s anything wrong,” said Boston neurologist Dr. Daniel Tarsy, former chairman of the Movement Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology. “It’s often mistaken as having a psychological basis, which is not doing much of a service to the person who has one.”

It’s the brain’s fault

While it appears that it’s Dupree’s tongue and vocal muscles that are malfunctioning, the actual culprit is his brain.

“The problem is in the brain and how it controls the muscles,” said neurologist Dr. Hyder Jinnah, who is treating Dupree at the Emory Brain Health Center in Atlanta. “Exactly what’s going on in the brain that makes it do that, we’re not really sure.”

“When you look at the areas of the brain that are inappropriately activating, they’re not just one region,” Frucht said. “This is actually a widely distributed motor network disorder. It’s not like there’s a lesion in a three-millimeter location, and we could just take care of that.”

Doctors believe that there is a genetic component for dystonia, a predisposition that is triggered by an event in life. Like Dupree, many patients recall an illness, injury or stressful event and then “boom, the problem seems to have arisen,” explained Jinnah, who runs the Dystonia Coalition, a network of researchers and advocacy groups dedicated to researching the disorder.

“We’re tempted to say those things cause the dystonia,” he added, “but many people have those things every day, and they don’t have dystonia, so establishing a relationship between something like Jamie’s gastrointestinal illness and his dystonia is very hard to do.”

Tricking the brain

Focal dystonia often begins in one body part and then travels to an adjacent body part before settling in. In Dupree’s case, the problem began in his vocal cords and traveled to his mouth and tongue.

“I have no problems with it on anything except speech — and only on certain sounds, not all of them,” Dupree wrote.

Hard-to-say sounds include B, C, D, E, G, H, J, K, P, Q, T, U, V, W and Z, Dupree said. F, L, M, N and O are easy. A, I, S, X and Y can cause some problems. That suggests to doctors that his brain is targeting only a few of the many muscles in his tongue.

If he yawns, gags or puts a pen in his mouth, he can fool his brain a bit. Experts call it a sensory trick.

“If I talk through a yawn, I can get out about 7 words that are just fine,” Dupree wrote. “I’ve become quite an expert at talking through my yawns to say something. As soon as that yawn is over, then my voice is back to a struggle.

“I can get out a few more words by holding a pen in my mouth,” he continued. “It relaxes things a little in my throat, and allows out a little more speech. If I make myself gag, that opens my throat a little more and allows out some normal speech.”

One of Dupree’s most successful tricks is reserved for friends and family. If he raises his voice and tries to talk like a Jim Henson Muppet, he can complete entire sentences.

“You’re like the Swedish Chef!” a friend joked at a recent Atlanta reunion. “That’s right. Yurdy, yurdy, yurdy!” Dupree replied, laughing.

“If someone has a true sensory trick, it is dystonia, in my opinion. Nothing else will do this,” Frucht said. “It’s a bizarre thing that early on fed the fire of ‘this must be a psychological disorder, right?’

“It turns out nothing could be further from the truth,” he continued. “You can even show by sophisticated brain imaging that the application of the jest, or trick, or even thinking about the jest alters brain circuitry.”

Unfortunately, the brain often gets wise to sensory tricks, and they become less effective.

‘It’s like shooting ducks’

Treatments for dystonia are limited. Some medications can help distract the brain, and those are usually tried first, especially for focal dystonia. Deep-brain stimulation is a last resort for all but those with widespread dystonia in many body parts, which, sadly, are often children. Physical and speech therapy are usually a part of the treatment plan; acupuncture and medication may also help.

“A small number of people, maybe 5%, will find that it goes away just like it came, and we don’t really know why,” Jinnah said. “Most people have it for most of their life once it starts, and so we have to figure out ways to treat it.”

Injections of botulism toxin relax muscles; it is often the treatment of choice for some types of dystonia, such as blepharospasm.

“It doesn’t treat the disorder; it treats their phenomena,” said Dr. Andrew Blitzer, an otolaryngologist at Mount Sinai in New York City. “We can’t change the brain signal coming in to the muscle, but we can weaken the muscle so it can’t go into spasm.”

Blitzer is a pioneer in the use of botulinum toxin for dystonia. Since giving “the world’s first botulinum toxin injection for dystonia in 1984,” he said, he has learned that the success of the treatment can vary “day to day and month to month” depending on the patient’s level of stress and the site of the injection.

“The brain on stress is worse, so it’s like shooting ducks, moving targets, because you’re always trying to anticipate how the patient is going to be,” he said.

Because there are so many variables, Blitzer recommends finding a doctor who is extremely familiar with the procedure and starting with small doses, increasing the level of toxin as needed.

‘I’m not giving up’

On a recent steamy day in Atlanta, Dupree relaxed onto a table in the Emory Brain Center for a botulinum injection. It was the first since the disastrous experience in 2016 that affected his ability to swallow. This time, the target of the injection was Dupree’s tongue, the dosage small.

“We’re trying to target the muscles that push your tongue out first, because that is the most annoying,” Jinnah explained. “First, I’m going to attach a little device that helps us listen to those muscles.”

Pointing to a spot in Dupree’s neck just under the jaw, Jinnah explained that the muscles that push the tongue forward are deep in the throat, so an injection in the neck is easiest.

“Ready?” Jinnah asked. After a thumbs-up, he inserted the small needle in one side of Dupree’s throat and then the other. “Hear that?” Jinnah asked Dupree. “That little rumbling noise is the muscle.”

Afterward, the two shook hands. “I really hope it works,” Jinnah said.

Weeks went by, and unfortunately, there was not much improvement. But there were also no side effects. It’s possible the amount of toxin was too small, so an appointment was set up for a stronger dose. In the meantime, additional medications can be tried.

“I knew there would not be a magic answer,” Dupree said. “It’s been a hard ride down, and it will not come up like …” He snapped his fingers. “I know that there is a voice in there. I’m not giving up.”

Heat Advisory through the Father’s Day weekend

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No surprise. The Heat Advisory will remain in place through the Father’s Day Weekend as daytime highs will be in the low to mid 90s with overnight lows around the low to mid 70s.  However, this stretch will have a load of humidity with it which will easily allow heat index values to range between 100 and 105 degrees.

Chance for a shower of thunderstorm to pop within the area during this period is slim to none as the air will not only be warm at the surface but aloft as well.  With no real trigger to lift the buoyant air skies will remain quiet.

It really won’t be until early next week when we rinse all the high heat and  humidity out of the air in the form of some drenching thunderstorms.

If you have any outdoor plans for your Father’s Day weekend, it’s imperative to stay hydrated! Along with drinking plenty of water, be sure to take frequent breaks indoors or in air conditioning. In addition, do not leave any children or pets in your cars!! It would take only a matter of minutes to become overheated.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

China: ‘The US has launched a trade war’

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(CNN Money) — The world’s two biggest economies are now at war over trade.

China accused the United States of firing the first shot on Friday when the White House said that it would impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The announcement confirms a threat first made by President Donald Trump in March and follows months of trade talks between the two sides. A truce was announced in May, but it proved short-lived.

“The United States has kept changing its mind and now launched a trade war,” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The Chinese government said it would respond in kind to the US tariffs, which will apply to roughly 1,100 exports and will target China’s aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and auto industries.

“China does not want a trade war,” it said, adding that it would “fight back vigorously” in defense of its national interests, globalization and the world trade system.

Related: Trump announces tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

“We will immediately launch tariff measures that will match the scale and intensity of those launched by the United States.”

Beijing also said “all economic and trade agreements reached by previous negotiations will be nullified at the same time.” That includes a tentative deal to increase Chinese purchases of US energy and agricultural goods.

Like the US tariffs, China’s retaliatory tariffs will be rolled out in two waves, the Finance Ministry said. And they will start on the same day.

Beijing will impose tariffs on 545 US items worth $34 billion — including agricultural products, automobiles and seafood — starting on July 6.

Tariffs on the remaining 114 items, including chemicals, medical equipment and energy products, will start later.

The United States is targeting 800 Chinese exports, worth about $34 billion, starting July 6, and another 280 or so after a public comment period.

Trump has long complained about China’s huge trade surplus with the United States. In a statement Friday, he said trade with China “has been very unfair, for a very long time.”

The US president said the new tariffs were designed to punish China for the theft of American intellectual property and technology.

And he warned that any retaliation by Beijing would trigger another round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Related: These are America’s top trading partners

That raises the specter of an intensifying trade war, which would hurt consumers, companies and the global economy. The Dow fell nearly 200 points on Friday after the tariffs were announced.

Growth forecasts for major economies are already being slashed due to the rise of protectionism. Germany’s central bank cut its forecast for Europe’s biggest economy on Friday.

“An escalating global trade dispute or widespread rises in import tariffs would have a marked negative impact on Germany’s export oriented economy,” it said.

Related: IMF’s Lagarde warns US about trade, deficits

The United States has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. All have promised to hit back.

The 28 members of the EU agreed Thursday that retaliatory tariffs would go into effect in the coming days.

“In this day and age, launching a trade war is not in the interest of the world,” China’s Commerce Ministry said. “We call on all countries to act together to firmly stop such an outdated and backward move, and to firmly safeguard the common interest of all mankind.”

Judge jails ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort ahead of trial

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is going to jail.

On Friday, Manafort was ordered into custody after a federal judge revoked his house arrest, citing newly filed obstruction of justice charges. The move by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made Manafort the first Trump campaign official to be jailed as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Already under intense pressure to cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of securing leniency, Manafort now loses the relative freedom he enjoyed while he prepared for two criminal trials in which he faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

In issuing her ruling, Jackson said she had “struggled” with the decision but she couldn’t “turn a blind eye” to his conduct.

“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” she said.

A federal grand jury indicted Manafort and a longtime associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, last week on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, adding to the multiple felony counts he already faced. The charges do not relate to his work on the Trump campaign or involve allegations of Russian election interference.

Manafort, 69, and Kilimnik are accused of attempting to tamper with witnesses in the case by trying to get them to lie about the nature of their Ukrainian political work. Prosecutors say Manafort and Kilimnik tried to get the two witnesses to say that lobbying work carried out by clandestinely paid former politicians only occurred in Europe and not the U.S., a contention the two witnesses said they knew to be false.

The distinction matters because unregistered foreign lobbying in the U.S. is a crime, while lobbying solely in Europe would be outside the special counsel’s jurisdiction.

Manafort’s attorneys have accused prosecutors of conjuring a “sinister plot” out of “innocuous” contacts. They filed a memo written by one of the witnesses for Manafort that his attorneys say shows the work of the group, known as the Hapsburg group, was European focused.

In response, prosecutors filed additional documents showing extensive lobbying contacts by the group in the U.S., which they said showed “the falsity of his representation.” One of the documents was a 2013 memo from Manafort to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. It described how Manafort had designed a program that used the Hapsburg members to lobby U.S. lawmakers and influence American public opinion including meetings on Capitol Hill.

Manafort also pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment on Friday. Kilimnik, who prosecutors say is living in Russia, did not appear in court. Mueller’s team has said that Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence agencies, a claim he has previously denied.

Manafort will remain in jail while he awaits trial in both Washington and Virginia over the next few months. He faces several felony charges — including tax evasion, bank fraud, money-laundering conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent — related to his Ukrainian political work, money he funneled through offshore accounts and loans he took out on property in the U.S.


Buy your very own California ‘ghost town’ for just $925,000

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Why buy a house when you can buy an entire town?

A 19th century ghost town in California, that includes an abandoned hotel, church and bunkhouse, came on the market earlier this month.

Cerro Gordo, which means “fat hill,” sits south of the Sierra Nevada, on over 300 acres of land. The abandoned mining town had been in family hands for decades, but they felt it was the right time to sell it, said real estate agent Jake Rasmuson.

The asking price for Cerro Gordo is $925,000 and has an aptly named website,

There’s been a substantial amount of interest, Rasmuson said. Ideas have ranged from turning Cerro Gordo into a theme park to a marijuana town.

“I would say given the owner’s history with the town and love for the town, it’s not only the price that’s important, but the future use. Quite a few individuals want to buy it to preserve the history,” he said.

Cerro Gordo came into existence as a small mining town after the discovery of silver in 1865. And at one point, it became the largest producer of silver and lead in California, according to its website.

“In its heyday, it averaged a murder a week,” Rasmuson said. “It’s really part of the Wild West.”

After the fall of lead and silver prices, and other setbacks, including a fire, Cerro Gordo’s silver operations slowed and eventually became deserted.

There are nearly 22 structures remaining on the site. The former boom town is available for tours, but it requires visitors to drive through eight miles of a steep and narrow dirt road.


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