MOLINE, Illinois-- A small group from the Quad Cities returned home Wednesday night after spending the early part of the week in Washington, D.C. They joined hundreds from across the country for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Hill Day.
"They're tired of this epidemic being swept under the rug and not talked about," said Kevin Atwood.
The group bolstered support for a bill that would create a national, three-digit hotline number, similar to 911.
Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. People can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
The three-digit number would be a quicker alternative.
"It's something, not just the person that may be in crisis at that time, but just like 911, everyone will know that three-digit number," Atwood said. "So if there's a friend in trouble, and it's not just yourself, you still know that number and you can get them help."
During their D.C. visit, the bill met another milestone while moving through Congress; it passed out of committee. It will soon be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives. It already passed the U.S. Senate unanimously.
"You almost cry when you hear stuff like that because it's what you're passionate for and what you go for... " said Christina Malchodi of Bettendorf. "And to know that your voices are heard and they do listen, especially when you come knocking on their door.. it makes you feel good."
The AFSP reports that nearly 45,000 people die each year by suicide in the United States. That averages out to 123 people each day.
Atwood and Malchodi have both been effected by suicide. Atwood lost his son Foster last year to suicide. Malchodi lost her fiancé Rich in 2010.
That's how they both got involved with advocacy work.
"We've both felt that pain. We've both felt and lived with that guilt. And hopefully, this prevents someone else from having to go through that," Atwood said.
They stopped by the WQAD station today to talk about their trip and how they're working to break-down the stigmas surrounding suicide.
You can watch the full conversation below.
"They think people who died from suicide are weak or that they don't care about others and what they're left with," Malchodi said. "And the truth of it is they do care."
"We need everybody's help to break the stigma and let everybody know to speak up," Atwood said. "And then we can make real change."
According to the AFSP, one person dies by suicide every six hours in Illinois. In Iowa, one person dies by suicide every 19 hours.
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Iowa and the eleventh leading cause of death in Illinois.
These numbers are often under reported because suicide isn't always listed as the cause of death on death certificates.
When visiting D.C., advocates also asked lawmakers to set aside $150 million for suicide prevention and research.
"You have to know exactly what you're fighting to create change," Atwood said. "It's time that the government and people stand up so that we get the money the AFSP needs."
Malchodi and Atwood both work to ensure nobody has to experience the same loss they did.
Atwood founded Foster's Voice, which coordinates a scholarship in Foster's memory.
Atwood and Malchodi said they can be used as resources for anyone in the area struggling with suicidal thoughts.
"What I care about is their future," Atwood said. "No matter what you've done or no matter how you feel, or what someone else has done to you, there's always a future. And that's what matters."
MOLINE- A Moline woman who has had four suicides in her extended family, including her father, is launching a support group for those left behind.
Gaelane Rosinski's aunt and uncle killed themselves before she was born.
"The first time I ever heard the word suicide, I was just a little girl. My aunt committed suicide when my mom was only 8 years old and her brother was lost to suicide, I think when he was in his late 20's. Years later, his great grandson killed himself," she said.
But, suicide became intensely personal in 1975, when Gae's father, Keith Lane, shot himself to death.
"I was 25, and dad was only 52. He was a deputy sheriff for Rock Island County, and he used his own service weapon. He didn't see any reason for living. He had gone through quite a few heartbreaks in the last few months before he passed away," she said.
"I can hear the words, the same words after all this time. Call your mother at work. Keith just shot himself. I hear it over and over again," she said.
Last year she organized a benefit craft show and raised money to benefit mental health research and suicide prevention.
This year, she has started a new support group for friends and family members of those who have taken their own lives.
It will meet starting August 7th at Community of Christ Church in Moline.
"So that they can know there are others who are suffering like them. So many times, survivors of loss will keep it all inside, and sometimes, they will become a suicide loss, too. And, we don't want that to happen," she said.
For more information, call 309-207-5752
Armando Colunga was watching the news in San Antonio when he saw a report Tuesday night about authorities discovering 54 undocumented immigrants in the back of an 18-wheeler truck.
The men were being detained, sitting in a group on the ground, while they waited for authorities to interview and transport them.
Colunga felt compelled to act. The tow truck driver hopped in his vehicle and drove across town to help.
“My main motivation was, ‘Who knows how long they’ve been in there?'” he said.
When Colunga got to the scene, he noticed a Little Caesars nearby and bought seven pizzas.
He was worried authorities wouldn’t let him give the pizzas to the immigrants, but two detectives escorted him past the yellow crime scene tape, where a third detective handed the pizzas off to a fireman, who distributed them to the group.
As it turned out, the migrants had been given water, but had not been fed.
“I didn’t think about if it (the seven pizzas) would be enough — I just figured everyone would have something to eat,” Colunga told CNN.
He said officers told him he didn’t have to do what he was doing.
“No I didn’t have to, but they’re my people,” he said.
Colunga, who is of Mexican descent, sympathizes with the struggles many Latinos face in immigrating to the United States. But he said he would have taken action regardless of the group’s racial or ethnic background.
“If they were black or African people or white people coming from London … I would have done the same thing,” he said. “It’s not about race.”
Although Colunga didn’t get the names of the three detectives who helped him complete his mission, “I just want to thank them,” he said.
"Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate." Our very own chief meteorologist, James Zahara, said it best. A heat wave it on its way.
This Father's Day weekend is going to be on of the hottest on record. With the heat index likely to reach over 100 degrees, here are some helpful tips for beating the heat from Genesis Medical Center emergency physician David Dierks.
- Stay out of the heat when possible. The young and old are particularly vulnerable. People with other chronic conditions, for example, heart disease, mental health conditions, asthma and high blood pressure are at higher risk for heat illnesses.
- Make certain you don’t leave small children or pets in a vehicle. Temperatures can rise quickly to fatal ranges. One tip is to put something vital to your day in the back seat with a child, including a phone, a shoe or work materials.
- If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, visit friends or relatives, go to a cool public place like a shopping area or the library.
- Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently.
- Check on elderly and sick friends, neighbors and relatives several times a day during a hot spell. Invite them to your home if you are concerned about their safety.
- Drink plenty of water, particularly when exercising or working outdoors. One guideline is 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of outdoor activity.
- When possible, complete outdoor work either early in the day or late in the day.
- If you go out to walk, jog or bike, take a "buddy" so that if you get into trouble, help is close by.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks. Both speed up the loss of fluid.
- Make sure children take breaks from outdoor activity. Take a break from outside activity during the hottest part of the day to play games, or watch a movie together inside.
- Take care of your skin if you are outdoors. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you are swimming.
- Seek shade or air conditioning if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous.
- Seek medical treatment immediately if you are disoriented, have a high body temperature, are vomiting, or have stopped perspiring.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal, or is likely to be rising.
Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be 105 degrees F or higher. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — The commercial real estate folks at NAI Ruhl Commercial have offered up a sneak peek of what the new Portillo’s in Davenport is going to look like, via their Facebook page.
They also noted that the targeted opening of the much-anticipated restaurant is the spring of 2019.
The restaurant will be located across from Costco at the intersection of Fairhaven Road and 53rd Street in north Davenport.
There is a meeting scheduled on Thursday, June 14 at 6 p.m. at Davenport City Hall regarding the re-zoning of the location to accommodate Portillo’s.
SILVIS - A local teenager got a surprise and a celebration on Flag Day, June 14.
As Liam Willcox was preparing to retire and replace his 100th flag, he got a surprise visit from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.
"I had no idea he was coming out here," said Liam, who will be an Eighth Grader at East Moline Christian School. "It was just a great honor."
Liam started the Flag Restoration Project nearly a year ago after being inspired by a veteran during a school visit.
"Liam has done a wonderful job," said Gov. Rauner. "You know what? It's so wonderful to celebrate the American flag."
Family, friends and officials joined the celebration, which hit the 100 mark during the stop in Silvis.
"It felt like a victory," said Liam. "It was a milestone for our project."
As Liam retired the next flag, there were cheers and the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Everybody that came here supported me enough so I could get to this point," Liam said. "It wasn't me that did it. It was everybody that helped me out."
Now that he reached 100 flags, he isn't about to stop.
"As long as people need flags, I hope I'll be here to help them out," Liam said.
And what about Gov. Rauner's visit?
"It's amazing," Gov. Rauner concluded.
"I'm glad he did because I had a little trouble getting that one down," Liam concluded.
To help the Flag Restoration Project, the Moline VFW is accepting new flags or monetary donations. The Moline VFW is at 1721 7th Street, Moline, IL, 61265.
ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – The 7th annual Flowers on the River event was held on June 14 at Schwiebert Park.
The event, hosted by local organizations, allows a chance to remember loved ones who are lost to domestic abuse.
Family Resources’ Engaging Males program and the Elephant Club honor local victims who are killed. They remember them by reading aloud the victim’s names then placing a flower, in their honor, into the river.
In the past couple of years, almost 50 women were killed in Illinois, and at least 15 were killed in Iowa at the hands of a domestic abuser.
In most cases, the abuser is a spouse or an ex-spouse.
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) -- Illinois state lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle have different takes on what didn't get done at the statehouse this session.
Legislators are back in their districts for the summer and won’t be back in action until November for fall veto session. When they were in Springfield, they passed a budget, some ethics reforms, named roads and honored people who died.
What did lawmakers neglect to address? State Rep. Allen Skillicorn said lawmakers failed to tackle reforms for the state’s underfunded public pension systems.“Pensions are the No. 1 issue that are driving up costs and driving down services,” said Skillicorn, R-East Dundee. “By ignoring the real issue of pensions, ignoring the need to change the [state] constitution to diminish pensions is the biggest thing we’re dropping.”
Illinois has $130 billion in unfunded pension liability, more than any other state and a main debt driver for the state’s poor credit rating. Reforming the pension programs has been difficult, in part, because the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled the state constitution does not allow for the diminishment of promised benefits.
There were several resolutions for a statewide ballot question to ask voters if the state constitution should be amended to address the pension issue, but none were advanced, let alone debated, on the floor or in committees.
“Raising prices [and] lowering the services, it’s just going to drive more and more millennials, working families and seniors out of the state,” Skillicorn said.
As part of the budget for the coming fiscal year, lawmakers did offer up pension buyout plans they say will save taxpayers money, but the plans are optional and critics say the savings can’t be guaranteed. It’s unclear how much, if any, the plans will lower the amount of unfunded liability.
State Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, said one measure lawmakers dropped the ball on was instituting his bill to provide a child care tax credit for parents and providers.
“A sort of market-based solution to provide more incentives to parents to find the best programs and for those programs to create additional slots I think could really be useful in moving the middle-class, lower-middle class forward in terms of having more money for child care and better quality child care in the state,” Mitchell said.Mitchell also said another ball he thinks lawmakers dropped was legalizing recreational marijuana.
Lawmakers passed more than 600 bills so far this year alone. Taking into account last calendar year, which was the first of two years for the 100th General Assembly, lawmakers passed more than 1,220 bills.
Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for INN.
(CNN) — If there was a buzzword at Southern Baptists’ annual meeting this week, it was “unity.”
It showed up in resolutions advocating for immigration reform, renouncing the racist “Curse of Ham” doctrine and calling for “Christlike communication,” particularly on social media.
In response to #MeToo scandals besetting Southern Baptists, they also passed resolutions condemning the mistreatment and abuse of women.
Unity was on the lips of experts in evangelism, as they urged Southern Baptists to put aside differences in service of gaining converts.
Unity was highlighted in a tweet summing up the meeting by Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm. The word was also tweeted by the new president of the SBC, J.D. Greear, as he expressed concern about one of the annual meeting’s more controversial moments, Wednesday’s speech by Vice President Mike Pence.
The focus on “unity” may seem a bit odd. After all, the Southern Baptist Convention is less a denomination than a fellowship of some 47,000 churches, all of which are autonomous. It’s been said that trying to lead Baptists, of any stripe, is somewhat like herding cats — or, more poetically, “like being president of a flight of butterflies.”
I caught up with the man who now has that difficult job minutes after he was handed the gavel, marking the beginning of Greear’s presidency of the nation’s largest Protestant movement, with more than 15 million members.
At 45, Greear, a megachurch pastor from Durham, North Carolina, is the youngest SBC president in nearly four decades, and the first from Generation X.
He’s friendly and informal, preferring button-downs and sneakers to fancy suits. He speaks quickly, and packs a lot of ideas into even short interviews.
I asked Greear about the focus on unity, and why he thought Pence’s appearance sent “a terribly mixed signal” about Southern Baptists. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
I’ve been hearing about “unity” a lot at this meeting. Why is that on so many people’s minds?
Jesus prayed for the church in John 17 that it be unified, and so what we have is a unity around a shared gospel doctrine and our Baptist Faith & Message, which we believe is narrow enough that it unites us on the particulars, but also broad enough that there can be some latitude on things that are secondary and tertiary in importance.
We don’t endorse political platforms; some of us have different strategies in how to deal with various political issues. Obviously, there’s cultural diversity, stylistic diversity, and without getting into a big taxonomy of which doctrines are central and which are not, there is kind of a hierarchy of doctrines, where we can say, “This may be important, but we can come together even if we disagree on that.”
So it’s not unity for unity’s sake. It’s unity around the gospel and the mission. And what we’ve seen challenged in recent days is people who want to disunify over secondary and tertiary things.
Such as particular doctrines like Calvinism and the Reform movement. In the Baptist Faith & Message, we believe there is room for divergence there. On political questions, some people think the best strategy to empower the poor is this, and some think it’s this over here. And we just think it’s wise in those things where the Bible doesn’t draw a direct line to show restraint.
We believe that the Bible draws a direct line, for example, on the pro-life question. But when it comes to things like health care and empowering the poor, we say, “Let’s show some restraint in our strategy.” At the same time, we can agree that all Christians should care about the empowerment of the poor and the full equality and rights for all people in the United States.
Is the unity message in any way a response to the hyperpartisanship and argumentative online culture we see so much of these days?
Yeah, social media certainly hasn’t helped that, because it used to be that most of our disagreements would come with context. Now we reduce all of these conversations into little snippets. People talk past each other. People are virtue-signaling and trying to posture.
One of the things that we want to do is, when it does come to disagreement on some of those secondary issues, we want to have empathy and charity with each other. Which means that I want to be able to understand why your cultural perspective may make you see a particular issue differently than I do. That’s empathy. Charity means that I’m going to give you the best benefit of the doubt about your motives in why you think that. What you see on social media is an absence of those things. In the church, we ought to have a better way.
You sent out a message about unity after Vice President Pence spoke here. You also said that his appearance sent mixed messages. What were those messages?
Because the SBC has been identified in the past, rightly or wrongly, as part and parcel of the Republican Party, the committee on order of business (at Southern Baptists’ national meeting) tried to be very clear that their reason for accepting Mike Pence’s invitation was to say that we respect and honor our civic leaders. We honor his position and appreciate certain stands that he has taken that all Southern Baptists would agree on. And we would do the same thing for a Democrat.
However, a lot of people see (Pence’s address) as a campaign speech to celebrate all the things the administration has done, as if the SBC was saying that this is our platform and our candidate. There are certainly things in the Trump administration that Southern Baptists can appreciate, but we want to be very clear that we do not identify with that. That is not our political platform. We want to make sure that we don’t send out a signal that part of our unity is around the particular political policies or strategies of any administration.
How much does the political debate harm unity within the SBC?
It does when it becomes too large in how we relate. It ought to be that the gospel and our shared set of beliefs and mission are so large that the other things, while they may make for great discussions, are secondary.
The illustration that I always use is that Jesus had 12 disciples. One of them was identified as Matthew the tax collector, another as Simon the zealot. That puts them on opposite sides of the most explosive political question of Jesus’ day (whether to cooperate with the Roman Empire). Jesus called them both as disciples and they are identified by their positions, and I’m sure they had some really spicy discussions around the campfire. But they had more in common in their love and faith in Jesus and their commitment to his mission.
It’s not that we want to say that (political) questions don’t matter. It’s just that we’ve got something bigger and more important to unify around. I hope Southern Baptists will have robust discussions about the best education policies, for example. But we should be able to disagree and at the end of the day unify around the gospel mission.
Strong thunderstorms that broke through the dry air during the midday and afternoon hours drenched areas in southeast Iowa and west central Illinois. Great news for this portion of the area where it has been pretty parched of late. The system has moved off which will leave behind some broken cloudiness overnight.
Humidity stayed low for the second straight day but that will be just a memory heading into the Father’s Day weekend.
Overnight lows will drop into the upper 60s as the broken cloudiness will linger through the night. Could see a shower or storm before sunrise, otherwise no relief expected until early next week.
We’ll turn on nature’s oven slowly with highs in the lower 90s on Friday with mid 90s both Saturday and Sunday. Throw in that humidity and heat index values will have no problem reaching over 100 degrees.
Let me stress again, we haven’t seen this stretch of high humidity this season so if your outdoor plans take you outside for a long period of time take plenty of breaks. Look for those shady spots and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Chief meteorologist James Zahara
(CNN) — Harry Harris, the Trump administration’s nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, said North Korea continues to be a nuclear threat and that major military exercises should be paused to give Kim Jong Un a chance to prove whether he is “serious.”
President Donald Trump announced in Singapore that the US would suspend “war games” with South Korea and Japan, taking Seoul, Tokyo, lawmakers and parts of the US military by surprise.
“In my previous capacity, I spoke very strongly about the need to continue military exercises, most notably in 2017,” Harris said at his nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. But he noted that, “we were in a different place in 2017. North Korea was launching missiles … if war wasn’t imminent, it was likely.”
“Today, following the summit, we are in a dramatically different place,” said Harris, a former commander of Pacific Command who was an admiral when he left the Navy. “The whole landscape has shifted. I believe we should give exercises, major exercises, a pause to see if Kim Jong Un is in fact serious about his part of the negotiations.” He added that, “I’ve spoken in the past about the need to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses and not to his knees.”“We have to continue to worry”
Harris added that, “for the first time in my career we’re in a place where peace is a possibility. We can be hopeful, we can be optimistic as long as we are realistic as well,” he said, stressing that sanctions pressure on North Korea should not be lifted.
The summit in Singapore “wasn’t designed to solve all issues at once, but to be a starting point to start serious negotiations,” Harris said, meant “to establish the modalities for what a complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization means and how we’re going to go about that.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked Harris whether North Korea is still a nuclear threat.
Trump declared on Twitter that the country was no longer a nuclear threat and that the US is safer in the wake of his summit meeting with the North Korean leader, but Menendez noted Pyongyang still retains its missiles, its command of the nuclear fissile process and other capabilities.
“We have to continue to worry about that,” Harris said. He noted that the US installed an anti-missile system in South Korea “because of the threat from North Korea… it’s based solely on the ballistic missile threat from North Korea.”
Harris was also asked about language Trump has used, describing the military exercises as “war games” and calling them “provocative,” as China and North Korea do.
“I would call them major exercises,” Harris said. And asked if they were provocative, Harris said, “they are certainly of concern to North Korea and to China, but we do them in order to exercise our ability to work and interoperate with our South Korean allies.”
Harris said his understanding is that regular training and readiness and service-related exercises would continue, “but I don’t know that for a fact,” he said, adding that would be a decision for the administration and the Pentagon.
Harris stressed that even if some exercises are paused temporarily, “our alliance commitments to South Korea remain and are ironclad,” but added that, “we do need to create some breathing space for the negotiations to continue.”
Staying diplomatically aligned with South Korea is also crucial, Harris said in response to questions from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who raised concerns about China trying to divide the US and South Korea.
It is important that the US stays “synchronized and aligned with our ally in South Korea,” Harris said, and that “decisions that we make are alliance decisions, decisions are made with our South Korean ally and not made unilaterally. And they need to make their decisions based on the alliance as well.”
Harris said the administration was committed to continuing sanctions against North Korea until it sees clear evidence that the regime is acting on denuclearization.
“The maximum pressure campaign that was led by the State Department and the enforcement of UN sanctions, and pretty harsh enforcement of sanctions by many countries … is what brought Km Jong Un to the negotiating table in Singapore,” Harris said.Defining “denuclearization”
“We need to maintain those sanctions until there’s some concrete demonstration” that North Korea is moving toward denuclearization, Harris added. He said that, to him, “denuclearization” means the “complete denuclearization” of all equipment, stockpiles, and the means to deliver weapons.
And he said he wasn’t sure yet what the benchmark should be for declaring that North Korea was acting in good faith and making progress. “I don’t know where along that timeline to complete denuclearization we should start to relax those sanctions,” Harris said, adding that it would certainly be part of the negotiations and deliberations here in Washington.
Harris expressed concern about pressure from China. “I am concerned that China is starting to relax sanctions and they want further relaxation of sanctions by all the parties,” he said. That shouldn’t happen “until we come to the point that we can believe that Kim Jong Un is serious about negotiations.”
That point, Harris said, should come within a year.
Noting that North Korea has a history of playing out talks while it pockets concessions — a hallmark of talks in 1994, 2005 and 2012 — Harris said he thinks Trump is “spot on when he says he’s not going to wait that long” and that he’ll know within a year … the seriousness with which Kim Jong Un approaches this deal.”
SEATTLE --Wanted: Windex aficionado with extensive experience in not looking down.
Actually, four of them.
The Space Needle is in the process of hiring four 'courageous employees' to clean the 176 tons of glass that were added during its recent redesign. That adds up to more than 20,000 square feet of glass that will have to be cleaned every day.
“This isn’t a job for the faint of heart,” Paul Best, who leads the Space Needle’s glass-keeping team, said in a statement. “All of the tower’s recently installed glass is located 500 feet in the air or higher, which will require my team to reach, climb and crawl on more than 300 panels of glass to keep the tower’s floor-to-ceiling views pristine for every guest.”
The position pays $15 an hour, the minimum wage in Seattle.
The $100 million renovation project is focused on preserving and improving the Needle. There are lots of jobs available as the summer tourist season ramps up, ranging from guest experience specialists to maintenance engineers to admissions agents.
“From operating an elevator to changing the Space Needle’s signature aircraft warning beacon, our employees scale every inch of the of the structure to maintain its beauty and legacy,” vice president of human resources Nancy Hawman said in a statement.