WQAD News

Quad City farmers react to the possibility of more US imposed tariffs

EAST MOLINE-- Farmers at the Rock Island County Fair put in their best bids at the 4-H livestock auction Friday, July 20.

Illinois farmer Dennis VanDaele is a corn and soybean farmer, he says he’s not spending any money during the event. He’s only there to show his support for fellow farmers.

VanDaele says he’s feeling the sting from retaliation for U.S imposed tariffs.

“It’s cost me 50 cents a bushel on about 25,000 bushels of corn …it’s cost me 10,000 to 12,000 dollars,” says VanDaele.

And it may escalate more, the Trump Administration is ready to slap China with half a billion dollars in extra tariffs, driving prices even higher and risking more farm products.

DeAnne Bloomberg from the Rock Island, Illinois Farm Bureau says farmers are used to the ups and downs of the business, but the tariff backlash adds to the hardship.

“This is another economic lesson because what we’re dealing with is supply and demand. When we also pour in that tariff piece it makes it even more pressured on farmers in the Quad Cities,” says Bloomberg.

Russians attempted to infiltrate three 2018 campaigns, Microsoft says

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(CNN) — Russian intelligence operatives attempted to hack into the online accounts of staffers on three congressional campaigns in the upcoming midterm elections, a Microsoft executive said Thursday, marking the first public acknowledgment of a Russian attack on a 2018 race.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer security and trust, said the technology firm had, earlier this year, detected a fake domain that was likely used as part of phishing attacks directed at the three campaigns.

Microsoft took down the site and prevented the victims from “being infected by that particular attack,” Burt said.

Multiple US intelligence and homeland security officials have said in recent days that Russia has not yet attempted a large-scale effort to manipulate specific election infrastructure in the midterm elections, as it did in the 2016 race.

Burt said the specific phishing tactic, which generally involves duping a victim into clicking a malicious link, was one they discovered being used by a Russian intelligence hacking group often referred to as Fancy Bear in the lead-up to the presidential election.

The hacking unit is directed by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency which was formally blamed for the Democratic National Committee hack and other damaging election cyberintrusions earlier this month in an indictment prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller. Cybersecurity firms have said Fancy Bear was one of the units of the GRU responsible for the hacks.

A top Homeland Security official Friday called the cases “concerning” but downplayed their broader significance in an interview at a Washington Post event.

“I see intelligence, I see reporting on stuff every day that would look — absent context — concerning,” said Christopher Krebs, the undersecretary in charge of DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate.

“We haven’t seen a campaign on the scale of 2016 of concerted attacks against election infrastructure, concerted attacks against campaigns. Yes, Microsoft made an announcement yesterday about three Russian — about three campaigns being targeted. That is concerning and so we’re going to work with them, we’re going to get that information, the FBI’s worked with them to share information to shore up defenses,” he said.

Burt did not identify which campaigns had been targeted, only describing the victims as “people who because of their positions might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as from an election disruption standpoint.”

Earlier this year, officials from a Tennessee US Senate campaign informed the FBI that they feared they had been hacked, according to a copy of a letter obtained at the time by CNN.

Baby born in Chick-Fil-A bathroom gets free meals for life, job offer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A couple in Texas delivered their baby in a Chick-Fil-A bathroom and now the baby will get free meals for life.

KSAT reported that Falon Griffin was having contractions Tuesday night, so she and husband Robert drove to meet a family friend at a Chick-Fil-A to drop off their two children before going to the hospital.

When they got to the restaurant parking lot, however, Falon knew she couldn’t wait, so she headed to the bathroom. The restaurant was closed, but she banged on the door and begged the staff to let her in.

“I was very insistent,” Falon joked while talking to KENS.

With the baby starting to crown, the couple decided to deliver right there, in a stall of the fast food restaurant.

Robert wrote on Facebook:

“When she got to the shoulders, I realized the chord was wrapped around her neck TWICE. didn’t want to alert my wife, so just told her try to relax for a minute and I was somehow able to unwrap the chord from the baby’s neck. With two more strong pushes, and using my shirt for a towel, out came Gracelyn Mae Violet Griffin.”

Employees called an ambulance, but Gracelyn had already been born by the time it arrived. The baby and her mother were taken to a hospital.

Chick-Fil-A has offered Gracelyn free food for life and a guaranteed first job at age 16, according to KENS. Store owners said they want to host her first birthday party.

Customers injure worker at Moline entertainment center

MOLINE, Illinois -- An employee at QC Family Entertainment was left with fractures in his face and hands after being beaten by a group of customers, according to the Moline Police Department.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday, July 19, police said they were called to a fight involving between 30 and 40 people.

Detective Michael Griffin with the Moline Police Department said it started when a group of 15 to 20 people were rough-housing in the facility.  A worker approached them and asked them to stop; that's when one person "got aggressive" with the man.  Griffin said the customer "actually picked him up over the top of his head and threw him."

Police said the worker started getting attacked by about three people. The man then tried to run off, but then "a whole mob turned on him."

Detective Griffin said as about 15 people were stomping on him and kicking him, some other customers nearby stepped in to help stop the attack.

"They came to the aid of the employee. They probably saved his life," he said. The worker sustained fractures to his face and hands and was taken to the hospital.

The owner of QC Family Entertainment said he's "shocked" that dozens of people got into a fight at his business.

Frank Miroballi, the owner, has been involved with bowling businesses for decades. He said, during that time, and in the six years QC Family Entertainment has been open, nothing like this has ever happened.

"They have a great business down there," said Detective Griffin. "This is not a reflection on QC Family Entertainment at all, and I believe this is an isolated incident."

The business has 43 security cameras inside and, coincidentally, they had planned to install 12 more this week.  Police were sifting through that footage, trying to identify the people involved.  Detective Griffin said the people involved can expect to face criminal charges.

Miroballi explained that they had been looking to improve their security camera system so that there's "no place to hide" in such a large facility.  He said they're now looking into changing their security policy, and revamping how employees deal with customers that are getting out of hand.

"The employee did what he felt was right," said Detective Grffin. "He was doing his job. Who would have ever thought that this crowd would have turned on him and attacked him?"

Detective Griffin urged anyone who feels that a situation has the potential to go badly, to call police and have them handle the situation.

Marshalltown picking up the pieces after tornadoes blow through

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa-- Residents in Marshalltown said they have a long road to recovery ahead of them after a tornado barreled through Thursday evening.

"I looked out the back of the building right away and I saw a roof go across the parking lot like a frisbee," said Jeff Mitchell, who owns an apartment building downtown.

He was moving splintered pieces of wood out of his parking lot Friday morning. He said he sought shelter in the basement during the storm.

"Things were crashing outside, banging up against the wall," he said. "And you could just feel the air sucked out of the basement instantly."

Mitchell said when he came out, it was utter devastation.

"I mean there's literally roofs of buildings laying in our parking lot," he said. "And we don't know what roofs, where they came from."

Rick Clement was helping to move debris to the curb.

"You never think it's going to happen to you or this close to you," he said.

It's a sentiment shared by many throughout the city. One man said he had always heard that Marshalltown never got hit by tornadoes because it was between two rivers.

"I still can't believe it," Gilbert Gonzales said. "It's kind of weird seeing everything just kind of like a movie."

Gonzales was going around one neighborhood, offering help wherever he could.

"We got the chainsaw. We're chopping them up, the trees, pulling all the trees to the front. And we've got a bunch of trash bags, getting all the trash," he said. Gonzales was helping out the Ibarro family. Ramon Ibarro explained that several of his family's homes suffered damages. A massive tree was ripped out of the ground during Thursday's storm and fell onto Ibarro's parents' house. "The ceiling is down," he said. "We have a ceiling from another neighbor's house. There's no electricity, no water." That was a common sight throughout the city. Hundreds of trees and powerless were downed. Rooves and siding were ripped off of houses. Mud was sprayed onto vehicles and buildings, and shreds of insulation covered the ground.

"What do you do? You just put on your big boy pants and clean it up," said one man, who was boarding up his buildings downtown. "Marshalltown's a tough town. we'll come back."

YOUR HEALTH: A better way to measure mom’s safety during childbirth

NEW YORK – First-time mom, Diana Romano loves spending every moment possible with ten-month old Leo.

Diana had a normal, healthy pregnancy, staying on the job as a doctor until right before Leo was due.

"When I went to my 39 week visit I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, so they decided to bring me in that night to be induced."

Diana had a smooth delivery with no complications.   She said that's the expectation as most women go into the delivery room.

"The majority of the time things go beautifully, but sometimes things can get scary."

In the United States, 700 women die every year from labor and delivery complications.

Three percent of all women experience a dangerous hemorrhage during or after labor and delivery.  It's not always easy to tell if a woman is in danger.

"The traditional way of monitoring blood loss is done by visual inspection, meaning we essentially look at the saturated pads and the operative field and make an estimate with our best guess what the blood loss is," explained Mt. Sinai Hospital  obstetric anesthesiologist Dr. Daniel Katz.

Now a cutting edge system called the Triton is taking the guess work out by using an app to analyze the amount of blood on surgical sponges and equipment.

Doctors or nurses calibrate the system using a barcode.   Then they hold up sponges and pads in front of the computer or I-pad camera.

"It will take pictures of surgical sponges and canisters and measure how much hemoglobin is on them," said Dr. Katz.

The system tallies how much blood is lost.

Doctors decide in real time if a patient needs additional treatment or even a transfusion.

It's a digital eye that Dr. Katz says helps even the most experienced obstetrician and their patients.

SOLUTION:    The Triton system adds all the volumes together and keeps a running tally of the total amount of blood that has been lost.   Each hospital has a different threshold on how much blood equals a hemorrhage.  It's usually between 60 to 1,000 milliliters of blood depending on the type of delivery.   This technology can sense very small differences in blood volumes that human eyes can't.   Those small amounts can be the difference between a smooth delivery and a hemorrhage.

Dr. Katz says for anything that can't be scanned by the app, they use a bluetooth-enabled smart scale.

If a doctor types in the surgical tools that are being weighed, the computer can calculate blood loss that way.

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.

 

‘She said her grandmother saved her’: Boat tragedy survivor, 12, was on special trip

BRANSON, Missouri (Kansas City Star) – Todd Dennison, of Sherrard, choked back tears as he made his way into Branson City Hall just before 9 a.m. Friday.

Dennison’s mother, Leslie Dennison, and his 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, were on the Duck Boat that sank Thursday night, killing 17.

His daughter is now in the hospital, injured, mostly emotionally. His mother is still missing.

Leslie Dennison was in Branson with her granddaughter for a special trip together. They had just made it to town Thursday evening when they headed to the dock.

“They were here less than an hour,” Dennison said.

He said his mother barely had enough time to drop off their luggage at their hotel, before they went to board the boat.

Later Thursday night, in the hospital, Dennison said, his daughter told him how the boat sank. Suddenly submerged, she could feel her grandmother from below pushing her upward.

“She said her grandmother saved her,” Dennison said.

“I have to go,” he said. He walked into City Hall, in hopes of finding out more about his mother.

Leslie Dennison and her grandchild Alicia, were on the Duck Boat that sank Thursday night, killing 17, at Table Rock Lake. Alicia is in the hospital. They were in Branson, Missouri for a special trip together. Facebook

Audit: Systematic failures in Illinois Department of Human Services’ group home oversight

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois state audit has found systemic failures in the Department of Human Services licensing and oversight of thousands of taxpayer-funded group homes for adults with disabilities.

The nearly 230-page report released Thursday by Auditor General Frank Mautino’s office found communication failures within the state DHS, the Chicago Tribune reported .

Auditors said officials who license group homes “routinely” didn’t receive findings and reports from those who investigate abuse.

The audit found failures in documenting whether deficiencies were corrected. It also questioned whether the state did enough in recent years to ensure the safe transition of more than 400 adults from larger centers to small homes. Auditors said Illinois used “questionable procurement strategies” when it awarded multi-million-dollar contracts to the company managing that transition.

The Human Services Department argued that the audit is largely based on dated information that doesn’t include changes underway.

The report is based on the state’s oversight of more than 3,000 group homes that serve about 10,000 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It covers a four-year period that ended June 30, 2016.

The report was conducted after state lawmakers approved a resolution introduced by Republican Rep. Charlie Meier. He said he plans to push for statewide legislative hearings this year “to improve the way our state cares for the developmentally disabled.”

“This audit reaffirms that more work must be done to improve the quality of care our most vulnerable population should expect to receive,” Meier said. “Not all group homes are bad, but there is no excuse for these mistakes to happen again.”

The issues were first exposed in a 2016 Tribune investigation that documented substandard conditions. The newspaper also found that the state oversight remained inconsistent in a follow-up investigation this year .

School district in Fulton planning for a school resource officer

FULTON, Illinois  --  The River Bend School Board has approved a new risk management plan that includes adding a school resource officer.

The officer will spend 90 percent of the time in Fulton High School but will also visit the middle and elementary schools in the district.

The school board's plan will move a current Fulton police officer into this position and hire a new officer to fulfill the old position. The city council will decide on the plan sometime next month.

The school board will pay 70 percent of the total cost, and the city will pay the rest.

Fulton City Administrator, Randy Boonstra, says it will cost roughly $70,000 to hire a school resource officer and hire a new officer for the Fulton Police Department.

Superintendent Darryl Hogue says after experiencing a threat that resulted in a lock down at Fulton High School in February and then seeing a school shooting unfold less than an hour away in Dixon, he wants to do what he can to keep students safe.

"Us experiencing our own situation, the Dixon situation, we have really tripled, quadrupled our efforts to increase safety and security," Hogue said.

Hogue says he has seen strong support from the community.

" I think it's great for the kids to have someone they can trust and go to if there are any issues going on in the schools. It's just great," River Bend School District Parent Marie Meyers says.

If the plan is approved, the city and the school board hope to have the resource officer in schools by September.

Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle abruptly leaves the network

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(CNN Money) — Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Fox News host and one of the network’s top stars, abruptly parted ways on Friday with the cable news channel.

A Fox News spokesperson confirmed Guilfoyle’s departure, which was reported by CNN and other outlets earlier in the day, in a one-sentence statement: “Fox News has parted ways with Kimberly Guilfoyle.”

The spokesperson did not give a reason for Guilfoyle’s exit.

But the short statement, coupled with Guilfoyle’s departure, which did not provide her an opportunity to say goodbye to her audience, prompted questions about the terms in which she left the network. Howard Kurtz, who covers the media industry for Fox News, tweeted that the short statement suggested to him that it was “a difficult parting.”

Guilfoyle put Fox News in an ethical dilemma earlier this year when she started dating Donald Trump Jr., President Trump’s son. As a co-host of “The Five,” Guilfoyle was regularly involved in on-air discussions about Trump, putting her in a spot where conflicts of interest issues arose on a near-daily basis. Guilfoyle’s last appearance on “The Five” was last Tuesday.

Two people familiar with Guilfoyle’s plans told CNN that she will join Trump Jr. on the campaign trail for the 2018 midterm elections. She was at a campaign event this week.

One of the people familiar with Guilfoyle’s plans said she would likely take a job at America First Policies, a non-profit organization that works to support President Trump’s agenda. The second person familiar with the matter said that donors for the group had been actively trying to recruit her.

Guilfoyle has been a supporter of Trump. She said in 2017 that she had been in conversations with the White House for the role of press secretary, though people familiar with the matter told CNN at the time there were never any serious discussions.

News of Guilfoyle’s departure from Fox News was first reported on Twitter by Vanity Fair reporter Gabe Sherman.

Neither Guilfoyle nor a spokesperson for America First Policies immediately responded to requests for comment Friday morning.

Fabulous temperatures this weekend… Stray shower possible later Saturday

Plenty of clouds throughout the evening and overnight hours as lows fall around the mid 60s.  A few of these clouds will squeeze out  a light shower mainly north and east of the Quad Cities during the evening hours before quickly drying out for the rest of the night.

On Saturday,  I need to make a small tweak. The same low pressure system will be located around the Chicagoland area.  A bit closer to what I’ve been seeing from last night’s computer model runs.  Still see more clouds than sun, but I’m concerned that a later day stray shower could sneak into our outdoor plans especially if you’re located more east of the river.  Just a heads up out there.

By Sunday, the system will be far enough east that we’ll keep it dry in our viewing area.

Temperatures  both days will top out around the 80 degree mark with overnight lows in the lower 60s.

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

 

North Carolina daycare — yes, daycare — raided in massive drug bust

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Authorities arrested three people and seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana in two drug busts, one involving a child care center in North Carolina.

On Tuesday, the Fayetteville Police Department’s Gang Unit executed a search warrant for a residence on the 1000 block of Ronald Reagan Drive.

Detectives learned the residence was also a childcare center known as Tori’s Playhouse, and waited until the childcare center was closed so that no children would be present for the search.

Detectives seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana as well as marijuana-laced gummies and cookies and half a dozen guns.

Tori’s Playhouse Owner and Operator Victoria L. Everett, 34, and Co-Operator Reshod J. Everett, 32, were both arrested on a number of drug charges.

Victoria Everett

Victoria Everett faces charges of:

  • trafficking in marijuana by possession (Level II) – 62.8 lbs.
  • trafficking in heroin by possession (Level III) – 31 gm
  • trafficking in heroin by manufacture (Level III) – 31 gm
  • possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana – 381 gm
  • maintaining a dwelling for keeping/selling controlled substances
  • conspiracy to traffic in heroin

Reshod Everett faces charges of:

  • trafficking in marijuana by possession (Level I) – 37.8 lbs.
  • trafficking in marijuana by manufacture (Level I) – 37.8 lbs.

    Reshod Everett

  • trafficking in cocaine by possession (Level III) – 443 gm.
  • trafficking in cocaine by manufacture (Level III) – 443 gm.
  • conspiracy to traffic in marijuana
  • conspire to traffic in cocaine
  • maintaining a dwelling for keeping/selling controlled substances (2 counts)
  • trafficking in marijuana by possession (Level II) – 62.8 lbs.
  • trafficking in heroin by possession (Level III) – 31 gm
  • trafficking in heroin by manufacture (Level III) – 31 gm
  • possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana – 381 gm
  • conspiracy to traffic in heroin

Both were jailed in Cumberland County, Victoria Everett under a $287,500 secured bond and Reshod Everett under a $430,000 secured bond.

The daycare drug bust followed a day after another Fayetteville drug bust at the Addison Ridge Apartment complex on Monday.

At the apartment, police seized:

• 275.5 grams of marijuana

Davis III

• 1 ounce of marijuana wax
• 437 grams of cocaine
• A Smith & Wesson .380 handgun
• A Scorpion 9mm handgun

Police arrested Alvin Davis III, 27, of Fayetteville and charged him with two counts each of trafficking marijuana, trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. He also faces one count each of  maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle for controlled substances and carrying a concealed weapon.

Davis, who worked at a Food Lion Distribution Center, was taken to jail. He posted bail and has since been released.

Over 36 hours, the gang unit seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana, half a kilogram of cocaine, more than an ounce of heroin, 10 guns, a 2013 Audi Q7 SUV and more than $70,000.

These arrests were made with help from the Central District Community Empowerment Team and the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team as part of an ongoing investigation into gang activity and narcotics.

(Fayetteville Police Department)

Audit finds questionable spending at U of Iowa dental school

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A special state audit has identified more than $57,000 in improper and unsupported purchases made through the University of Iowa dental school.

A report released Thursday says the audit covered transactions made Aug. 1, 2012, through Aug. 31, 2016, by a woman working as an administrative specialist for the Periodontics Department. The improper purchases included gift cards, clothing, shoes, computer equipment and accessories.

The report also says the woman, Amanda Shumaker, altered old invoices to make them agree with some of the improper purchases. A routine review in July 2016 turned up discrepancies in Shumaker’s purchasing records, and she was placed on leave effective Aug. 1, 2016.

The report says the 34-year-old died less than three weeks later. An obituary says Shumaker died at a Davenport hospital.

US releases $200 million in defensive aid to Ukraine as Moscow seeks better ties

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(CNN) — The Pentagon has released $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine just days after the Russian Ministry of Defense said it was ready to work with the US Department of Defense on a range of security issues following a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and amid concerns the US President had not been tough enough with his Russian counterpart at their meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

The release of the money was confirmed Friday in a statement posted by the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington.

The funds are intended to enhance Ukraine’s command and control, situational awareness systems, secure communications, military mobility, night vision and military medical treatment, a US defense official told CNN.

The official said the funding will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs, including counter-artillery and counter-mortar radars, high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, night vision devices, electronic warfare detection, secure communications and medical equipment.

The newly released money was part of the US defense budget but its release was contingent on Ukraine passing a series of defense reforms to help bring the country’s defense practices into line with modern standards and practices.

The Trump administration decided that Ukraine’s passage of a new national security law, signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on July 5, met the requirements enshrined in the US legislation, thereby allowing the Pentagon to release the funds.

Full implementation of the Ukrainian law “will further deepen Ukraine’s Western integration,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement after the law was enacted.

“The United States stands ready to continue supporting Ukraine’s defense and security sector reforms to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity,” Nauert added.

The US has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in security assistance since 2014 as it has sought to bolster the country’s military which is facing an ongoing conflict with separatists in the country’s east, forces the Pentagon believes are backed, armed and even led by Moscow.

On Friday the Trump administration ruled out the possibility of supporting a referendum on the future Eastern Ukraine in areas that are under the control of armed groups backed by Moscow.

“The Administration is not considering supporting a referendum in the eastern Ukraine,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement.

“The Minsk Agreements are the process for resolving the conflict in the Donbas, and these agreements do not include any option for referendum. Furthermore, to organize a so-called referendum in a part of Ukraine which is not under government control would have no legitimacy,” he added.

Earlier this month, the US and Ukrainian militaries co-hosted a major exercise known as Sea Breeze 18, which involved two US Navy warships and some 850 American sailors and Marines.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the exercise, calling it “another attempt to provoke tension” in the region.

Hundreds of US National Guardsmen are in western Ukraine as part of an effort aimed at training and mentoring Ukrainian army units.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, a move that was criticized in a communiqué issued by NATO leaders following their summit in Brussels, Belgium, last week.

“Russia is challenging the rules-based international order by destabilizing Ukraine including through the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea; it is violating international law, conducting provocative military activities, and attempting to undermine our institutions and sow disunity,” the communiqué said.

A spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said Tuesday that his country was ready for the “implementation of the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump” following the two leaders’ Monday meeting in Helsinki.

The Russian military “is ready to intensify contacts with the US colleagues in the General Staff and other available channels to discuss the extension of the START treaty, cooperation in Syria, as well as other issues of ensuring military security,” spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

A US defense official told CNN that Secretary of Defense James Mattis is open to talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, but that there are currently no plans for such a conversation.

Report: Sin taxes aren’t reliable revenue streams

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) – With more states, including Illinois, considering legalizing sports betting or recreational marijuana for a cash infusion, one group is warning such revenue streams are unreliable and may not be a solution for poor finances.

The Denver Post reported in 2017 The Centennial State produced nearly 500 tons of cannabis. Colorado state government reports that netted nearly $250 million in taxes, license and fee revenue in 2017.

Now translate the demographics to Illinois. Colorado’s population is 5.6 million. Illinois’ is 12.8 million, 2.3 times larger than Colorado. If you assume similar population behavior and a similar tax structure, Illinois could net $575 million from 1,150 tons of legal pot, if the state were to legalize, regulate and tax weed.

For those thinking pot taxes will save Illinois financially, Illinois’ backlog of bills as of Thursday was nearly $7.8 billion. That would mean Illinoisans would have to consume 15,600 tons of weed in one year to pay the old bills. That doesn’t even address Illinois’ $130 billion unfunded pension liability.

That’s just one of many different so-called sin taxes being implemented around the country and more are being floated, including here in Illinois.

In a new report this week titled “Are Sin Taxes Healthy for State Budgets? Taxes on vices are tempting but an unreliable source of revenue,” The Pew Charitable Trusts warns sin taxes aren’t a cure all.

Project director Mary Murphy said sin taxes can provide short-term revenue gains for states, but shouldn’t be looked at as a fix for reoccurring budget problems.

“Any of these new or existing sin taxes are unlikely to be a silver bullet for larger budget issues, certainly when attempting resolve some of the larger structural budget challenges that many states are facing,” she said.

Murphy said sin taxes are also inherently conflicted.

“On the one hand they’re often meant to deter individuals from engaging in harmful behavior but on the other hand states often hope to collect meaningful revenue from taxing the activity,” she said. “If the first objective is successful states will see declines in both the behavior and correspondingly the revenue collected.”

Nationwide, the research showed a major decline in the sales tax revenues from cigarettes since the early 1980s.

The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports cigarette taxes dropped by $9 million in June from the year before.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year giving states the green light to legalize sports betting, proponents of expanding gambling in Illinois went to the drawing board to craft updates to efforts to legalize sports betting in the Land of Lincoln. Ultimately those efforts were put on hold over the summer as lawmakers ran out of time in the Spring session.

Murphy said expanding gambling could backfire.

“For one, the potential revenue stream (from sports betting) is difficult to forecast and by definition there’s very limited data and two if sports betting does behave similarly to other types of gambling states could see short-lived gains followed by downward pressure on revenue as more and more states legalized,” Murphy said. “And finally the revenue streams will likely be small.”

Such behaviors are also typically from a fixed population, Murphy said, meaning it’s unlikely there will be new consumers entering such a marketplace. And while legalizing such behavior could boosts state coffers, Murphy said it could also increase costs in other areas of society.

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Weird Ways to Use Lemons

What's that saying... If life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well, today we are doing just that - and some!

On our weekly Nailed It Or Failed It segment on WQAD News 8 at 11am, we are showing you weird things you can do with lemons. There are so many of these posts on Pinterest, so we are testing some of them out! Click the video above to see how to make a Lemon Volcano, Lemon Lip Gloss, and some other strange - and I mean strange - ways you can incorporate lemons into your life.

You can also do something pretty sneaky with lemon juice. Click the video below to see why I brought a lamp with me to work today AND to get Eric's Cocktail of the Week Recipe for ADULT Lemonade Shake-Ups!

Cocktail of the Week: Adult Lemonade Shake-Ups

With the Rock Island County Fair going on, it's time for us to re-live a part of our childhood. Well, sort of. Here's what you'll need.

  • Lemons
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Vodka

What could be simpler? Use the juice of half of a lemon per serving. Add a tablespoon of sugar and 6 ounces of water and one shot of your favorite vodka. Shake. Serve. Enjoy!

Ancient sarcophagus yields horrible-smelling secret

This picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows an ancient tomb dating back to the Ptolemaic period found in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria. (Getty Images)

Egyptian archaeologists have unsealed and opened a mysterious granite sarcophagus discovered on a construction site in Alexandria — only to find the remains of three mummies in a pool of leaked sewage water.

Photos released Thursday evening by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities show a team of archaeologists climbing down the 16-foot-deep (5 meter) pit and wedging the black sarcophagus open with a wooden plank. The experts had to wear masks over their mouths and noses to block the reportedly foul smell.

An archaeologist at the site, Shabaan Abdul, said that the remains most likely belonged to three military officers, according to a post on the ministry’s Facebook page.

A ministry official, Aiman Ashmawy Ali, told CNN that the sarcophagus had been found in a previously unexcavated section of one of Alexandria’s largest ancient cemeteries.

“One of the mummies had a trace of an arrow in the head,” he said in a phone interview. “It proves he died in a conflict. Maybe that explains three mummies in one big sarcophagus.”

The contents of the sarcophagus have been the subject of intense speculation since the relic was uncovered earlier this month. But not only were no treasures found within, the mummies inside had disintegrated beyond recognition.

Joseph Manning, a professor of ancient history at Yale University, said that while such finds are not especially unusual, this particular case merited further investigation.

A handout photo from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows workers removing sewer water submerging three decomposed mummies after opening the black granite sarcophagus.

“As far as I can see, there’s no inscription on the sarcophagus, which is strange,” he said. “You’re not going to see someone important buried like this.”

University of Auckland Egyptology Professor Anthony Spalinger stressed that granite was both expensive and difficult to cut.

“They would have taken it downstream and carved it in the area,” he said in a phone interview. “It implies that there was wealth involved.”

Somewhat unusually, experts said, the three mummies were buried without any belongings. The only other item discovered at the site was an alabaster bust, its features destroyed beyond recognition.

Manning, who said the archaeological find “looked like a non-elite burial,” has a theory on its origins: that although the sarcophagus appeared to date back to the Ptolemaic Kingdom (305 B.C. to 30 B.C.), it may have been used more than once.

“It is conceivable to me that (the sarcophagus has been) reused in a later period,” he said. “I’d want to know a lot more.”

Ali acknowledged that it is difficult to date the sarcophagus without an inscription. But more answers can be expected after forensic examinations, which will take place at the Alexandria National Museum, according to Egyptian state media reports.

Further excavation at the site may prove difficult, however, as the finding was made on a privately-owned construction site.

“(The) Ministry of Antiquities and the Egyptian government have procedures (for) checking any building before it is renewed or repaired,” Ali said. “This sarcophagus was found according to regular procedures.”

Such measures are considered necessary in a country where the remnants of ancient Egypt are regularly smuggled and sold. In June, Egyptian state media reported the return of over 100 artifacts smuggled into Naples, Italy. In a separate incident, nine other relics were sent back to the Ministry of Antiquities from France.

Studio 8 features hip-hop artist Random Tanner

Who I am: Random Tanner

What my music is: Hip-hop

What sets my music apart from the rest: “What sets the Random Tanner music apart is my style/delivery, willingness to be myself at all times & the ability to make music for all walks of life to relate to…” (scroll down to learn more about Random Tanner)

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“… I have recently been featured on Sirius XM’s Shade 45 as well as in-studio interviews with WQUD 105.5 Vintage Radio, MaC 94.7 in Clinton, Flood 93 in Davenport and I am currently the Hot Artist of the Month on Hot 95.7 Cedar Rapids.

I have performed all over Iowa & Illinois plus random spots in Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado & Florida. Included in those concerts is my recently sold-out, all-local show at RIBCO in March of this year.

I have been making and performing music for 12 years now and currently working on turning this into a full-time career.

If you go to my website, RANDOMTANNER.COM you can find all of my music videos, songs, social media links, bio & merchandise store. Looking forward to seeing new supporters along the way, get ahold of me, I always respond!”

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