WQAD News

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is “ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you.”

In a guest appearance Friday on ABC’s “The View,” Leeann Tweeden read a letter she received from the Democratic lawmaker in which he also discussed a photo showing him posing in a joking manner, smiling at the camera with his hands above her chest as she naps wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane.

Franken missed votes in the Senate Thursday afternoon and has not made any public appearances since the allegations came out.

Both had been performing for military personnel in Afghanistan two years before the one-time “Saturday Night Live” comedian was elected to the Senate. Tweeden, a former Fox TV sports correspondent who now is a Los Angeles radio anchor, has said Franken had persisted in rehearsing a kiss and “aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”

Franken told Tweeden in the letter he wanted to “apologize to you personally,” adding: “I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo. … I have tremendous respect for your work for the USO. And I am ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you. I am so sorry.'”

Franken, 66, was the latest public figure to be caught in the deluge of revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct that have crushed careers, ruined reputations and prompted criminal investigations in Hollywood, business and beyond.

While Franken has repeatedly apologized, there were no signs the issue would go away any time soon. Fellow Democrats swiftly condemned his actions, mindful of the current climate as well as the prospect of political blowback in next year’s elections.

Republicans, still forced to answer for the multiple allegations facing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, joined in pressing for an investigation. Franken said he would welcome it.

Franken abruptly canceled a sold-out book festival appearance scheduled for Monday in Atlanta, festival organizers said. He had been scheduled to speak and promote his book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.”

Tweeden posted her allegations, including a photo of Franken and her, Thursday on the website of KABC, where she works as a news anchor for a morning radio show.

On Friday, Tweeden said she didn’t come forward with the hope that Franken would step down. “That’s not my call,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” ”I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide.”

Franken faces re-election in 2020.

Meanwhile, a Minnesota woman and rape survivor who worked with Franken to craft legislation for fellow survivors said Friday the senator should take his name off the bill. Abby Honold, 22, who was raped by a fellow University of Minnesota student in 2014, called Franken’s conduct disappointing and said someone else should champion the bill.

Eight women who worked for Franken in the Senate vouched for him, saying in a joint statement Friday that he treated them “with the utmost respect.”

In a statement Thursday, Franken apologized to Tweeden and his constituents while maintaining that he remembered the rehearsal differently. Tweeden said she accepted his apology.

“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t,” Franken said. “And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”

President Donald Trump, who has faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct, ridiculed Franken in tweets Thursday night: “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? ….. And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.”

Trump has been publicly silent about the allegations against Moore, the Republican nominee in Alabama’s special Senate election. Through a spokeswoman, he called the allegations of sexual misconduct against the former judge “very troubling” but stopped short of calling on Moore to drop out.

Trump once boasted that as a celebrity “you can do anything,” speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, claims Trump denies.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday: “Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t. I think that’s a very clear distinction.”

The accusations against Franken come just days after the Senate unanimously adopted mandatory sexual harassment training for members and staffs amid a flood of stories about harassment, sexual misconduct and gender hostility from staffers, aides and even female elected officials.

Franken’s fellow Minnesota Democrat, Amy Klobuchar, condemned Franken’s behavior. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, facing a tough re-election next year, said, “Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct, and I believe there should be an ethics investigation.”

Madison Keys returns to Rock Island to lead anti-bullying assembly

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Rock Island native Madison Keys returned to the Quad Cities to take a break from tennis and talk about bullying.

Keys is a professional tennis player who made her first trip to the finals of the U.S. Open in September. She's also a 22-year-old who's faced her share of online attacks.

"I've been getting it since the first day I signed up for Twitter and Instagram. It's obviously worse after matches that I lose, and for the longest time I would just stay silent about it, not do anything, not say anything really. It felt like there were no steps forward with creating a safer online space," said Keys.

Now, Keys has decided it's time to talk.

She returned to Rock Island on Friday, November 11, to launch the U.S. arm of FearlesslyGIRL, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young women.

"This is obviously where I was born and raised and starting tennis. This is kind of where everything started for me, so for me, there was really no other place to start something else that means so much to me," said Keys.

Keys, along with speaker Kate Whitfield, hosted an anti-bullying assembly for girls from various Quad City high schools. The event was also live-streamed to more than 7,000 viewers from Augustana College. Topics ranged from female role models to how to ask for help.

"It's just kinda self-empowering and not letting someone else, or something that you hear someone say, break you down," said Georgia Nissen, a sophomore at North Scott High School.

Keys took time to pose for pictures and meet with girls after the assembly.

She said she'd love to return next year, and they are already thinking of ways to make the event bigger and better.

"I feel like we just made the world a little bit better today. Even if it's just girl world, we made it a little bit better, and that was the whole point behind this," said Keys.

Video shows pair stealing freezer compressor from Moline Whitey’s

MOLINE, Illinois -- Moline Police are looking for information on a pair seen on video stealing a freezer compressor from Whitey's Ice Cream.

According to Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities, it was discovered stolen from the Whitey's location on 41st St. in Moline on Thursday, November 16.

Video shows a white standard cab Ford F150 pulling into the parking lot before two males got out, leaving the driver inside the truck. Police say one suspect was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and the other was wearing a neon yellow hooded sweatshirt.

The pair is seen loading the compressor into the bed of the truck, which has a black grille, black bumper, and has a sticker on the rear window of the driver's side.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities tip line at 309-762-9500 or submit an anonymous tip using the free app "P3 Tips" for a possible cash reward.

Trio accused of home invasion and threats found guilty in federal court

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Three men from the Illinois Quad Cities were found guilty in federal court this week for their roles in a home invasion where they threatened to shoot pregnant women and children.

Deaunta Tyler, 29 and Dalvent Jackson, 24, both of East Moline – and Ledell Tyler, 35, of Silvis – are all scheduled to be sentenced in March after a jury found them guilty of attempted robbery, discharging a firearm during a robbery and being felons in possession of firearms.

According to court records, the three broke into a Rock Island home on the night of Jan. 7 in search of drugs. During the robbery, the defendants “threatened to shoot various occupants of the home, including two pregnant women and several young children.” At least one shot was fired during the robbery as well, according to court records.

The suspects were captured several hours after the robbery when they fled from a traffic stop initiated by Rock Island Police and crashed.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 13 in U.S. District Court. Each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison for the attempted armed robbery and felon in possession of a firearm charges, and a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison for discharging a firearm in furtherance of the attempted robbery to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed for the underlying offenses.

 

A wintry mix…even a change over to snow is still on track for Saturday

Rain will continue from time to time as we go through the overnight hours, when amounts will range between a quarter to a half an inch.

The rain will continue through Saturday morning, but given the sharp drop in temperatures aloft during this period a mix to even a brief change over to snow is still expected.  This is very similar to last Saturday when the rain changed over to a burst of snow producing a small grass covering in spots.  We’ll likely see that again with the better chances more north and west of the Quad Cities where amounts could add up to an inch.  Roads will be wet but not slick.

The next issue will be the wind as gusts could reach over 30 mph.  Not the greatest news for the aerial balloons at the Festival of Trees Parade as winds may be too strong to carry them.

30s will be common during the day on Saturday with wind chills in the 20s.  Skies will clear later that day setting up for a bright but cold and less windy Sunday with highs in the 30s.

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

Man gets $3.9 million bill, realizes it’s actually his social security number

SHEBOYGAN, Wisc. -- Is this my bill or my phone number?!

Neither. It's your social security number.

A Wisconsin man recently received a student loan bill that indicated he owed nearly $4 million.

"I almost had a heart attack," Robert Theis told WITI. "I was like, 'Whoa, what's going on?'"

Theis owed $3,000 to Federal Perkins Loan. Like most colleges, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee outsources collections to a third-party. In this case, Heartland ECSI was handling the debt collection.

Theis recently checked his balance and his amount owed suddenly ballooned to over $4 million.

"People were like, 'You don't even go to MIT for that kind of education. How do you accrue such a debt?'" Theis recalled.

School officials told Theis he missed one payment five years ago. However, he couldn't imagine that would cause his loan to go up by such an obscene amount.

The school and debt collection agency confirmed to WITI it was a mistake.

"The loan amount the student saw was actually not even possible," explained Tim Opgenorth, the UWM Director of Financial Aid.

Opgenorth says his office reached out to Heartland ECSI on Theis' behalf.

"Heartland gave us the assurance that it was a one-time glitch in the system, that it was fixed immediately," Opgenorth said.

But there were still more surprises. Theis discovered the amount he "owed" wasn't a random number.

"The amount, in fact, wasn't the amount owed. It was my social security number," Theis said.

Theis was concerned about who had access to his social security number. An official at Heartland ECSI assured Theis he was the only person with access to his information and his social security number only appeared on the online page. Theis was also told the incorrect amount was not reported to the credit bureau.

"If he feels in any way that his credit has been damaged or compromised, they are willing to work with him," Opgenorth told WITI.

Heartland ECSI also issued a statement to WITI that said it "does not discuss individual borrower accounts with the media…There has been no unauthorized access to or acquisition of date from the ECSI systems."

Theis told WITI he believes the error did have a negative impact on his credit score. However, his score has been slowly improving since the error was discovered.

Police pursuit through farm fields and into Muscatine caught on camera

MUSCATINE, Iowa -- A police chase that started in rural Muscatine county and continued into the city resulted in minor injuries to an officer and the arrest of the vehicle's driver.

The chase was captured on video and shared on social media by several individuals, including one farmer who shot the video from inside the cab of a tractor.

The video above was shot by Reid Harris who was driving a piece of farm equipment along a gravel lane when he saw police pursuing a pickup truck through a harvested field.

According to the Muscatine County Sheriff's Office, it all started when deputies attempted to stop a red 2001 Ford Truck at the intersection of Mulberry Rd. and 155th St, just north of Muscatine, around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 17.

Rusty Wayne Wadden

Officials say the truck was speeding and the driver, Rusty Wayne Wadden, 29, had warrants out for his arrest. The chase, which included speeds in excess of 100 mph, began when Wadden refused to stop. The pursuit made it's way into Muscatine, where Wadden hit a sheriff's squad car in the 2600 block of Park Avenue, also damaging stop lights at the intersection.

The chase then continued through Muscatine, at speeds of up to 80 mph, before finally coming to an end in the 200 block of Roscoe Avenue when Wadden hit another sheriff's car and a retaining wall, police say.

Wadden and the deputy sheriff from the collision on Roscoe were taken via ambulance to Unity Point Trinity hospital. The deputy sheriff suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital but has not yet been cleared to go back to work.

A deputy sheriff from the first accident on Park Avenue was treated for minor injuries and released, able to remain on duty.

Wadden has not yet been released from the hospital.

A second video of the chase was filmed in town by Russ Hebert, who captured the pursuit flying through an intersection.

“It is unfortunate that we have to deal with individuals that have no regard for the law, or person’s lives or property.  The operation of the vehicle by Mr. Wadden today puts people at great risk, and we make every attempt to end those situations as quickly as possible," said Sheriff C.J. Ryan.

Police say Wadden was wanted on warrants for parole violation and possession of marijuana, with additional charges pending as a result of Friday's chase.

 

 

 

 

Three-degree guarantee check presented to Hand-in-Hand QC

October was a great month for the Three-Degree Guarantee.

Tom Pospisil from Eriksen Chevrolet presented a $480 check to "Hand in Hand QC" on Thursday, November 16th.

Every time StormTrack 8 gets a forecast temperature within three degrees, local charities get $20 that add up throughout the month.

Wife of Alabama Senate candidate Moore says he won’t quit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore said Friday her husband won’t quit the race in the face of allegations that he sexually assaulted young women years ago.

Standing on the white marble steps of the state Capitol, Kayla Moore was joined by several dozen women at a rally supporting Moore as she spoke in defense of her husband.

The couple has been married for more than 32 years, and Kayla Moore said her Army veteran husband has always been a gentleman.

“He will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama,” said Kayla Moore, who did not take questions.

Standing across the street, a single protester held a sign that said: “Roy Moore is a pedophile.”

Moore has ignored mounting calls from Washington Republicans concerned that if he stays in the race against Democrat Doug Jones he may not only lose a seat they were sure to win but also may do significant damage to the party’s brand among women nationwide as they prepared for a difficult midterm election season.

Speaking with reporters in Birmingham on Thursday night, Jones said it was “really unfortunate” that state GOP leaders had chosen to discount the allegations of women and stick with Moore.

“One of the problems in this state is that people continue to put a political party above what is in the best interest of the state and what’s in the best interest of the country,” said Jones.

But women who joined Kayla Moore at the rally said the accusations of sexual misconduct don’t fit with the man they know.

“I do not recognize the Roy Moore these ladies are describing,” Ann Eubank, a longtime fixture in Republican politics.

On Thursday, Moore appeared alongside more than a dozen religious leaders who took turns bashing the Christian conservative’s many critics — especially his female accusers.

Emotions ran high for some Moore supporters. Following an appearance by more than a dozen evangelicals who spoke on stage in support of Moore, some shouted down journalists who attempted to ask Moore about the women’s accusations.

“You are the fake, lying news from the swamp!” yelled one woman. Minister and longtime anti-abortion activist Flip Benham grabbed the camera of an Associated Press journalist and repeatedly said: “Did you stop beating your wife, yes or no?”

President Donald Trump, through a spokeswoman, called the allegations of sexual misconduct against the former judge “very troubling.” The Republican president stopped short of calling on Moore to quit the race, however, breaking with most Republican leaders in Washington, including McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

Pennsylvania man buried with two cheesesteaks as part of dying wish

PLAINS, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man with a sense of humor and fondness for cheesesteaks got his dying wish.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Richard Lussi, from Plains Township, was a fan of Philadelphia sports teams and Pat’s King of Steaks cheesesteaks.  Lussi apparently told family members he wanted to be buried with two cheesesteaks just in case he got hungry in the afterlife.

Richard’s son Dominic Lussi told the Inquirer that when asked what he wanted to take with him when he died, his father replied, “What do you think? Pat’s cheesesteak!”

Lussi’s only other request? No onions on the cheesesteaks.

The 76-year-old father of four died of heart complications on Oct. 10.

Pat’s owner, Frank Olivieri Jr., said he was flattered and bewildered by someone choosing to be buried with his sandwiches. As for what the second cheesesteak might be for, Olvieri speculated it’s a “bribe for Saint Peter.”

Which Davenport streets will close for Festival of Trees Parade

2017 Festival of Trees Parade

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A few streets will be closed downtown in preparation for, and during, the annual Festival of Trees Holiday Parade.

The parade is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 18th.

A map of the parade shows that the route starts at 3rd Street and Pershing Avenue, runs westward, takes a south turn on Scott Street, turns eastward onto 2nd Street and finishes at Iowa Street.

The streets along the parade route will be closed.

Click here to share photos from the parade.

Utah school bus driver fired for taking students to school after crashing

PRICE, Utah -- A school bus driver in Price, Utah, could face charges after police said he took kids to school on a crashed bus.

Price Police Chief Kevin Drolc said the driver crashed into a cement barrier near a canal Wednesday morning, then took off and kept driving his route. Upset parents said the school district failed to notify them of the incident, and that their children rode to school in an unsafe situation.

As Brent and Kimberlee Innes drove behind the bus Wednesday, they noticed the damage.

“I was like, ‘Wow… how is this even happening?!’” Brent told KSTU.

Having just dropped off their own children at school, he said they began to follow the bus and film it.

"We were in shock and disbelief that it was still driving,” Brent said.

He said the bus looked like it was drifting, with the back end often ending up in the shoulder, dangerously close to the sidewalk and parked cars.

“The back end was just so off kilter, it just looked like he was sliding down a sheet of ice,” he said.

They weren’t sure if the bus was empty or not.

“I hope there’s not kids in that bus,” Brent is heard saying on the video as his wife films.

But there were kids on the bus and it was headed toward the school. Jordan Burrows said his 6-year-old son was one of them. Burrows said his son told him later that night that the bus showed up looking like it was driving sideways.

“He said that the back-end of the bus was hitting trash cans on the way,” Burrows said.

In addition to hitting trash cans, Innes said it narrowly missed hitting a car. Eventually, the bus pulled into the school to drop the children off.

“How they got there safely is beyond me,” Innes said.

Chief Drolc said they became involved after several complaints of the bus came in. Officers tried catching up with the driver, but couldn’t track him down until he made it back to the school district garage.

The driver told police he knew he was in trouble, so he thought he’d just drop the children off and take the bus back, Chief Drolc said. Burrows said the district didn’t tell parents about the incident.

“Why weren’t we notified?” he asked.

On Thursday, the Carbon School District released a statement saying the driver did not follow protocol, that the district was not aware of the situation until the kids had arrived at school, and that they fired the driver.

Burrows said he still has questions about why protocols weren’t followed, and what the school district is doing to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.

“I’m afraid for my own child’s safety,” Burrows said.

Drolc said they cited the driver, 75-year old Juergen Kaehl, with improper lane travel. He said the city attorney will decide whether to file charges for reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Here is the full statement from the Carbon School District:

“On November 15, 2017 a school bus ran into a concrete barrier at a canal. The incident damaged the bus. As student safety is our top priority, our bus drivers are trained to secure the bus, notify the transportation department, check on the students and wait for assistance. Unfortunately, the bus driver did not follow protocol and continued to drive the damaged bus both picking up and delivering students to school. When district personnel were made aware of the incident, the students had already been delivered to the school. The driver's employment has been terminated.”

Pringles recreates Thanksgiving dinner with eight new chip flavors

It’s the greatest, most filling meal of the year — and junk food wants in on the action.

Pringles has created eight new chip flavors in a combination that’s “deliciously close to the real thing.”

“While the dinner is not available for retail sale this season, who knows what the future of Pringles stacking and snacking will bring,” the company said in a press release.

The tray includes the following flavors: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed corn, green bean casserole, mac and cheese and pumpkin pie.

Pringles even has suggested ‘chip sandwich’ combinations for those who like to mix flavors — The Leftover Sandwich, The Holiday Sweater, and The Touchdown.

The limited-edition “Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner” is not yet sold in stores, but the company said it’s a pilot taste test with limited availability.

Rev. Jesse Jackson reveals Parkinson’s disease diagnosis


CHICAGO (AP) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he’s been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy.

In a Friday letter to supporters, the 76-year-old says family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago and he could no longer ignore symptoms.

He says the diagnosis isn’t a sign to stop working but a “signal” to make “lifestyle changes” to slow progression of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.

The civil rights icon also released a Northwestern Medicine letter saying he was diagnosed in 2015 and has sought outpatient care.

Jackson runs the Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He’s remained a strong voice in anti-discrimination efforts, including advocating for affordable housing, and been a fixture at protests nationwide.

Jackson declined further comment Friday.

US to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia

(CNN) -- US authorities will remove restrictions on importing African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

That means Americans will soon be able to hunt the endangered big game, an activity that garnered worldwide attention when a Minnesota dentist took Cecil, perhaps the world's most famous lion, near a wildlife park in Zimbabwe.

A US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said the move will allow the two African countries to include US sport hunting as part of their management plans for the elephants and allow them to put "much-needed revenue back into conservation."

Critics, however, note the restrictions were created by the Obama administration in 2014 because the African elephant population had dropped. The animals are listed in the US Endangered Species Act, which requires the US government to protect endangered species in other countries.

"We can't control what happens in foreign countries, but what we can control is a restriction on imports on parts of the animals," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

The number of elephants in the wild plummeted 30% overall between 2007 and 2014, despite large scale conservation efforts. In some places it has dropped more than 75% due to ivory poaching.

In 2016, there were just over 350,000 elephants still alive in the wild, down from millions in the early 20th Century.

Pacelle, who opposes the decision, told CNN it means "elephants minding their business are going to be gunned down by rich Americans."

Safari Club International, a worldwide network of hunters, cheered the announcement.

"We appreciate the efforts of the Service and the US Department of the Interior to remove barriers to sustainable use conservation for African wildlife," SCI President Paul Babaz said in a statement.

But the decision was met with outcry from animal-rights advocates, including Chelsea Clinton, a longtime proponent for elephant conservation. The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton once called elephants her "great passion" in a 2016 Politico profile and, together with her mother, unveiled a $80 million partnership through the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013 to help end the ivory poaching crisis.

"Infuriating. Will increase poaching, make communities more vulnerable & hurt conservation efforts," she tweeted Thursday, linking to a report from the Humane Society of the United States.

President Donald Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric are themselves big game hunters. Photos posted in 2012 by the website Gothamist show Donald Jr. holding an elephant tail. The website says the photos were from a 2011 hunt in Zimbabwe.

When Donald Jr. addressed the photos at the time, he did not deny their authenticity or where they were taken. "I can assure you it was not wasteful," he posted on Twitter, adding, "The villagers were so happy for the meat which they don't often get to eat."

Pacelle, of the Humane Society, noted that corruption in the Zimbabwean government was a concern when the US banned trophy imports from the nation in 2014.

Zimbabwe is currently in a leadership crisis, after the military seized power this week and placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

Rock Island considers increasing some taxes and fees in 2018

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — In the 2018 budget, city staff has come up with ways to make up for less revenue and more expenses; possibilities in the budget proposal are to continue functioning without fully-staffed departments and to increase some taxes and fees.

The $117.1 million budget that will be presented to the Rock Island City Council on Monday, November 20th includes $35.1 million in the General Fund.  City staff explain in the proposal that over the last two years Rock Island has seen a deficit in their general fund, so they are trying to make temporary adjustments.

“Failure to permanently address the funding shortfalls now will impact the future financial stability of the city,” read a statement from the city.   Decreased revenue, rising pension costs, higher personnel expenses and higher health care costs are what the city is trying to combat in this budget.

How the city plans to earn money back

  • 3% increase to sewer fees (supports the Sewer Fund, not the General Fund)
  • $1 monthly increase in the refuse fee (supports the Refuse Fund, not the General Fund)
  • Increased ambulance fees
  • 1-cent increase in gas tax (pushing it from 2 cents to 3 cents)
  • A nearly 9% increase in the property tax rate to increase the property tax levy by $1,101,216.  Since the city’s portion of the total property tax bill is 23%, any changes made to the property tax rate apply to that percentage only.  For example, this proposed increase would be less than $5 extra per month for a $100,000 home.

How the city plans to reduce their expenses

  • The five vacant positions (two in the police department, two in public works and one in information technologies) will stay vacant with no plans to hire.  Hiring for positions in other city departments will be delayed.
  • Hold off on buying vehicles for the fire and public works departments
  • Hold off on road work projects
  • Reduce materials and supplies for public works

Click here to read the budget proposal

Multiple meetings will be held in between Monday’s initial presentation and the final approval on December 18th. One of the meetings may be public, depending on the City Council’s property tax increase recommendation.

Senator Grassley reacts to tax reform bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senators are looking over their version and the U.S. House's version of the tax reform bill. 

The considerations come after U.S. House of Representative passed a sweeping tax bill cutting taxes for corporations and many people on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Iowa U.S. Senator chuck Grassley talked about the Senate's version Tuesday, November 14 on Good Morning Quad Cities.

Grassley says small businesses would see significant tax relief, which would allow them to create more jobs.

"Everybody knows it takes capital to create jobs," Grassley said Tuesday. "If you send the money to Washington, it doesn't do as much economic good as if people back there are investing it and creating jobs."

Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on the bills, and Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says he does not support the current Senate version.

Doctors save hunter whose face was ripped off by grizzly bear

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Coming face to face with a grizzly bear and living to tell the story -- it’s something movies are made of, but this is no movie.

Doctors at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado are being credited with saving a man whose face was torn off by a grizzly bear, according to KDVR.

Lee Brooke was hunting in Wyoming when he encountered the grizzly. After months of treatment he is now back home in Pennsylvania.

The attack happened in early October 2016, nearly 1,900 miles west of Lee’s Pennsylvania home in the mountains near Dubois, Wyoming. Brooke, his brother-in-law George Neal and two friends set out to hunt elk. It was a trip that forever changed Brooke's life.

A good portion of Brooke's face is gone. He now uses a tracheal tube to talk.

“I don’t know how to say thank you,” Brooke told a crowd of neighbors and loved ones as he recalled the attack.

Neighbors have been rallying to help Brooke and his wife pay mounting medical bills.

In a county of just more than 40,000, Brooke was the lone Maytag repairman. He knows just about everyone in his town of Westfield, Pennsylvania.

At an event in early November, friends and longtime neighbors listened as Lee told his story.

“I should’ve bled to death right there,” Brooke told his community. “I should’ve least drowned on my blood.”

His story started with success -- a kill. Brooke approached an elk he shot a day earlier, but he saw something that told him he was in extreme danger.

Debris covered the game, a clear sign that a bear had claimed the elk for herself and her cubs.

“I can still feel the adrenaline rush from seeing the elk,” Brooke said.

Brooke said he immediately turned to leave, but he was quickly off his feet and into the paws of a giant grizzly that grabbed him from behind.

Brooke said the attack happened very quickly. His nose and upper lip were torn from his face. At some point, Brooke was knocked unconscious.

“I felt her sniffing my cheek,” Brooke said, recalling the moment he regained consciousness. “I felt the whiskers.”

Brooke said he had no choice but to fight. Not sure he would survive - the thought of death didn't cross his mind. He was determined to see his wife Martha again. Brooke said blood in his eyes made the fight difficult.

He hit the bear. She bit into his arm. His gun was not with him. A steak knife in his pocket was his only hope.

“I don’t know that I would have been brave enough to stab her if I could see her,” Brooke said. “I had to lean in to stab her in the head. So I was this close to her nose.”

After several strikes, the bear left Brooke. He was separated from his hunting party, but now, more than ever, determined to live.

After an hour in the woods, Brooke said his prayer was answered. Not knowing it at the time, his yells for help were heard by a couple in the area. They called for help, but that help didn’t find Brooke before his brother-in-law Neal arrived.

“I could hear Lee down over the bank,” Neal said.

Neal first found Brooke's nose and mustache. He put the nose and upper lip in Brooke's pocket. Anxious to find help, they started a slow journey down the mountain to reach cellphone service.

“I took my T-shirt off,” Neal said. “I tried to keep him warm. He was kind of shaking.”

Brooke was in a helicopter heading to Swedish Medical Center in Englewood seven hours after the attack.

He spent five months in Colorado and turned 60 in the hospital.  For a month, Brooke was in a medically induced coma at the Swedish Burn and Reconstructive Unit. Hours of surgery kept him alive and preserved part of his nose.

Blood from Brooke's arm now feeds his nose. Brooke said Colorado doctors could use what’s left of his nose to one day reconstruct a new one on his face.

“Then I’ll be a new Lee,” he said.

Members of Brooke's medical team are regarded as among the best in the country. Drs. Benson Pulikkottil and Lily Daniali - husband and wife - are essential members of Brooke's team.

“Between anesthesia, orthopedic, trauma - everyone was working on him,” Pulikkottil said.

Brooke spent three months going through surgeries. One lasted about 24 hours. He then spent two months in rehab exercising, learning how to eat again and overcoming psychological trauma.

“We didn’t just fix his body,” Daniali said. “We really wanted to make sure that he recovered mentally.”

Much of Brooke's current face was produced through delicate procedures using skin grafts from his right leg. His nose is kept alive on his arm thanks to a procedure using leaches to infuse blood flow.

“The source we used was his radial artery in his arm,” Pulikkottil said.

Doctors plan to rebuild Brooke's nose and upper lip. His nostril will be key in that reconstructive surgery.

“We’ll take cartilage from different parts of his body including his rib and his ears,” Pulikkottil said.

Bones in Brooke's face were partially constructed with leg bone. Brooke said he has metal plates and screws in his head.

Brooke said he still loves hunting and isn’t afraid it. At 61, he’s currently unable to work and not sure what’s next.

He said he will forever be grateful for modern medicine the amazing work of some of the most talented doctors and nurses he could’ve ever hoped for.

Brooke will be back in Colorado just after Christmas to start a series of reconstructive surgeries that could take about a year to complete.

Woman with profane anti-Trump sticker on truck arrested in Texas

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – A woman whose profane truck sticker aimed at President Trump and his voters drew the attention of authorities, has been arrested on an outstanding warrant, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said they arrested Karen Fonseca after learning she was wanted for fraud in a case that dates back to August, according to KTRK.

It wasn't the fraud case that had law enforcement officials threatening to arrest her this week, however.

A Texas sheriff on Wednesday suggested criminal charges were possible for the owner of a white truck bearing a profane message for President Donald Trump and his supporters, sparking a debate about the line between obscene words and freedom of speech.

"F*** TRUMP AND F*** YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM" reads the decal in bold white letters. A hand with a middle finger extended sits in the middle of the decal.

In a post on Facebook, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls said he had received numerous calls about the offending sticker. The truck is often seen along FM 359, a state highway near Richmond, Nehls wrote.

He asked for tips on the identity of the truck's owner and said he would "like to discuss it" with the owner.

However, Fonseca refused to take the sticker down.

"Our Prosecutor has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it," Nehls wrote.

The Facebook post was no longer visible Thursday morning after it was removed or the privacy settings changed.

In the comments, Nehls also had posted the legal definition of disorderly conduct in Texas.

A disorderly conduct charge targets a person who intentionally "uses abusive indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place" or "makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place" that "tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace."

'I'm not violating any laws or rules'

Karen Cook Fonseca, who owns the truck with her husband, told CNN she put the decal up about 11 months ago. She said there was "no particular reason" they decided to stick the message on the back of the truck.

"We wanted our statement out there. That's our opinion on him," she said.

The decal has gone viral several times, she said, and she gets plenty of feedback on the road. She receives some negative reactions, particularly among older white men, but most people stop to laugh, tell her stories or ask where to buy it, Fonseca said.

"A lot of females say 'I wish I had the balls to do that,'" she said.

Fonseca, who has children, said she's heard the criticism from some parents. But she said that having children doesn't make you lose your freedom of speech.

"I'm not going to remove it because I know I'm not violating any laws or rules," she said.

Free speech?

The sheriff's Facebook post sparked an intense discussion among commenters, with a number of them suggesting the First Amendment protected the phrase.

"You have a problem with political speech? Great. Resign, and spend your days trying to amend the Constitution. In the meantime, the first amendment is clear, and you are in the wrong," Jason Weinman wrote.

Another commenter, Linzi Bee, wrote, "I've seen this truck, and I would (be) pleased if the owner of this vehicle was prosecuted for disorderly conduct. My children saw this, and I was infuriated they were subjected to this offensive display."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas asked the truck owner to contact the organization and offered the sheriff a free legal tip.

"Constitutional Law 101: You can't ban speech just because it has "f@ck" in it," the group wrote.

Profanity is sometimes, but not always, protected under the First Amendment's right to free speech.

In 1942, the US Supreme Court ruled in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire that certain "fighting words," which would tend to incite violence, are not protected under the First Amendment.

However, in the 1971 case of Cohen v. California, the high court overturned the conviction of a man who wore a jacket in a courtroom with the words "F*** the draft." The 5-4 ruling found those words would not immediately incite violence and should be considered protected political speech.

CNN contributed to this report.

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