NASA’s record-breaking spacewoman retires as astronaut

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

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

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

Fellow astronauts called her a “space ninja.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davenport residents express concerns over Portillo’s

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

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

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

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

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

Illinois lawmakers seek changes in schools after CPS sex abuse investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The radio man without a voice

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie Dupree is the radio man without a voice.

‘The sound would just crack in half’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The search for answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A club no one wants to join

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

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

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

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

It’s the brain’s fault

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

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

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

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

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

Tricking the brain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘It’s like shooting ducks’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘I’m not giving up’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heat Advisory through the Father’s Day weekend

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

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

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

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

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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

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

China: ‘The US has launched a trade war’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: These are America’s top trading partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge jails ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort ahead of trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Liquid Kaleidoscope Paintings

This one was promised to be "super fun, super quick, super easy, and super "Jon proof" - ha!

On Friday, June 15th, Chuck Gillespie from ArtsyBug Studio in Davenport was our Special Guest on WQAD News 8 at 11am's Nailed It Or Failed It Segment. He showed Jon and Chief Editor Amber Mathias a simple craft with a big "Wow" factor. Check out the video above to see how to make liquid kaleidoscope paintings (and if it really is "Jon proof").

Chuck also talked about the studio's new location inside NorthPark Mall, located between JCPenney and Von Maur. For more information, check out ArtsyBug's Facebook Page or website.

Jonathan had planned on making one of his Ketz's Concoctions to wrap up the show, but he ran out of time during at the end! Here's his recipe for a RumChata Martini, according to Liquor.com:

2 oz RumChata 1 oz Vanilla vodka Glass: Cocktail HOW TO MAKE THE RUMCHATA MARTINI COCKTAIL

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into a cocktail glass, and enjoy!

Serious heat and humidity will settle in this weekend

The heat and humidity will be no joke this weekend! Starting this afternoon, a Heat Advisory will be in place until Sunday evening. Highs on our Friday will top out in the low 90s, but the humidity will make it feel over 100 at times. We’ll see plenty of sunshine, but an isolated shower isn’t out of the question.

It will remain warm and muggy tonight with lows in the mid 70s.

We’ll be back in the mid 90s on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, the humidity will make our heat index around 100-105. Don’t expect much of a break from the heat since full blast sunshine will stay for the entire weekend.

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

Meteorologist Taylor Graham

Looking for something FREE for your kids to do this summer? Try bowling

BETTENDORF- The Kids Bowl Free program started Monday, June 11, and a number of local bowling alleys are taking part.

Kids Bowl Free allows children to enjoy two free games of bowling every single day, all summer long, as long as the bowling alley is open.

Friday, June 15, High 5 Lanes & Games Owner Scott Emley from Texas, joined us during Good Morning Quad Cities to talk about the program. High 5 Lanes & Games is located inside the new TBK Bank Sports Complex.

High 5 Lanes & Games, along with other local alleys like these, are participating in the program.

To find out how to register for the program for your child, click on the bowling alley in your state, and follow the link from there.

Pleasant Valley SB, Bandits Sweep Clinton, David Robinson talks about taking over West BB

Pleasant valley Softball sweeps Clinton to stay atop the MAC race.

Bandits take three from Clinton Lumberkings to move into a tie for first with three games remaining in the first half.

Opening round of the 118th U.S. Open has four golfers tied for the lead at 1-under.

David Robinson takes over the Davenport West Basketball program. He talks about what fans and players can expect this season.

Musk company to build Chicago-to-O’Hare express transport

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CHICAGO (AP) — Entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday a high-speed transportation system that will whisk people between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport at speeds of up to 150 mph could be operational in about three years.

Musk joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to formally announce that a Musk-owned enterprise, The Boring Company, was selected for the project and will fully fund it. They say electric vehicles will carry passengers through underground tunnels in about 12 minutes each way.

Emanuel called the new transit system “the fast lane to Chicago’s future,” and said it will create jobs and make the city more competitive.

He scoffed at critics who question the still-unproven technology or the city’s ability to achieve what’s been a goal at City Hall for more than a decade. He noted there were doubters when the city set out to reverse the flow of the Chicago River or build the first skyscraper — other seemingly impossible tasks the city now boasts of having accomplished.

“Chicago is always looking at what’s possible and then making it achievable,” Emanuel said. “There are doubters along the way all the time who sit on the sideline and then when the thing gets built and opportunities come and the job growth happens you can’t find them.”

Musk, who’s CEO of electric car maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, noted he’s successfully completed other “pretty tricky” projects .

He said he expects the company will begin digging the dual tunnels after it’s received all the necessary regulatory approvals, a process he expects to take a few months. Once construction begins he’d like to see the system operational in 18 months to two years, but said it should be no more than three years.

“This is a different thing that we’re doing, it’s a hard thing, it’s a new thing,” Musk said. “I’d hope that you’d cheer us on, because if we succeed it’s going to be a great thing for the city, and if we fail, well I guess me and others will lose a bunch of money.”

Thursday’s news conference was held in the mothballed shell of an underground station that the city constructed years ago. The site, in a downtown development known as Block 37, will serve as the downtown station for the new express service. The Boring Company will create a new station at O’Hare.

Vehicles will depart the airport and downtown as often as every 30 seconds, and each vehicle will accommodate up to 16 passengers and their luggage.

The 12-minute ride — which Emanuel equated to “three songs on your iPod” — compares to the roughly 40 minutes it currently takes to make it from O’Hare to the city via the Chicago Transportation Authority’s Blue Line train. The alternative — by road — can take more than twice as long.

The company plans to collect ticket and advertising revenue, and Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin said the estimated fare will be $20 to $25 per ride, which is significantly less than a taxi ride to or from the airport. A Blue Line ticket from O’Hare costs $5.

Making the long-discussed express route a reality — and at no cost to taxpayers — would be a major accomplishment for Emanuel, who’s seeking his third term next year. The project’s timeline will allow him to campaign on the initiative, with its success or failure unknown until well past the election.

Some critics already have emerged. Alderman Scott Waguespack, a member of the City Council’s progressive caucus, said Emanuel was again putting the interests of billionaires and big corporations ahead of the needs of neighborhoods and taxpayers. He said the caucus is demanding hearings on the “potential boondoggle.”

In May, Musk said a tunnel built under a Los Angeles suburb to test a transportation system was almost complete and that the public would be offered free rides in a few months. Musk also touted a possible high-speed tunnel project connecting Washington, D.C., and New York last summer.

Musk’s flagship electric car company Tesla Inc. struggled last year to turn an annual profit for the first time in its 15 years of doing business. Musk announced Tuesday that Tesla would be laying off about 3,600 workers mainly from its salaried ranks as it slashes costs. He said the cuts amount to about 9 percent of the company’s workforce of 40,000.

For nearly all of its history, Tesla has put up losses while investing heavily in technology, manufacturing plants and an extensive car-charging network.

-CNN contributed to this article

Kellogg recalls Honey Smacks cereal over salmonella risk

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Kellogg Company is voluntarily recalling one of their breakfast cereals over possible salmonella contamination.

Click here to read about recent previous discoveries of salmonella in pre-cut melon.

The Michigan-based company announced that they are recalling 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce packages of Honey Smacks cereal, but no other products are believed to be affected.

The Food & Drug Administration said in a press release Thursday that the company launched an investigation into a third-party manufacturer that makes Honey Smacks after the FDA asked about reported illnesses. It’s not clear how many people reported being sickened.

The potentially-tainted Honey Smacks were distributed across the United States as well as in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan. Cereal boxes with the following UPC Code and “best by” dates are part of the recall:

Kellogg is asking that people who purchased the potentially affected cereal discard it and contact the company for a full refund. Consumers seeking more information, including images of these products, can visit kelloggs.com/honeysmacksrecall or call 1-800-962-1413 from Monday – Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET as well as Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET.

According to the CDC, salmonella can produce serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.

Each year, about 1.2 million people are sickened, 23,000 hospitalized and 450 killed by salmonella, the CDC says.

Why Rock Island County leaders say Hope Creek’s debt is growing

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Hope Creek Care Center is a county-run nursing home that's been serving the area for over a century.

But in recent years, the center's debt has been growing.  On Thursday, June 14, county board members confirmed that the latest debt figure stands at $4.4 million.

Board members said some of the issues that the facility is facing include lack of staffing, low enrollment, management problems and the State of Illinois making timely payments.

"The business model has changed so much and it's so integrated on finance and things like that today, when it wasn't in the early 1900s, or back when that facility was started," said Rock Island County Board member, Don Johnston, District 11.

But some board members said there's something else that's causing problems for Hope Creek.

"The biggest problem we've got is the negative press," said Rock Island County Board member, Robert Westpfahl, District 25. "Every time something goes wrong out there, it's in the paper."

"It’s kind of a perfect storm," said Johnston, "we got some bad publicity for one thing, I’m not blaming the news media but you get a report and it sounds bad and quite honestly we just got a review and we did real well, but nobody publicizes that, but they just publicize the lack of beds we have."

Although both board members acknowledged that the reports have been factual, Johnston said he feels the information could potentially deter potential residents or employees.

"They print the facts," said Johnston, "I think they dig a little deeper into a county facility than what they would into a private entity; and it's understandable."

In 2015, the Rock Island County Board decided against selling the county nursing home, but it's a topic that may be revisited.

"We've been advised one way or the other, it's such an emotional issue in shutting the facility down," said Johnston. "You have to be financially secure to even close something, I don't think we're to that point."

"I'm not saying what the county should do or shouldn't do, but we've got to do something different," said Westpfahl.

Hope Creek has a shut down one wing of the facility, leaving 35 beds unoccupied.  Johnston said about 40 beds out of an available 210 remained unoccupied.

Click here to read the Hope Creek Care Center Board of Director's report, which was presented to the Committee of the Whole Wednesday, June 13.

The 5 key takeaways from the Justice Department IG report

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(CNN) — On Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General released a 500+-page report detailing the conduct of then-FBI Director James Comey — among others — during the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The report, which had been eagerly awaited by President Donald Trump and a number of Republican members of Congress as proof positive that the FBI had been biased against him, was less a bombshell than a confirmation of already known information — sprinkled with a handful of interesting revelations.

Here are five key lines from the report that you need to know:

1. There was no evidence that the investigation into Clinton’s email server was influenced by political calculations.

“We found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations; rather, we determined that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.”

2. Comey broke with protocol by publicly announcing that Clinton would not be prosecuted.

“We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions.”

3. There’s no evidence Comey’s protocol breaks were driven by politics or partisanship.

“While we found no evidence that Comey’s statement was the result of bias or an effort to influence the election, we did not find his justifications for issuing the statement to be reasonable or persuasive.”

4. Peter Strzok’s texts were worse than we thought.

We knew that Strzok, an FBI agent who was involved in both the Clinton investigation and the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, had engaged in an extramarital affair with an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page. And that the two had exchanged texts mocking Trump. But, in texts released Thursday, Page asks Strzok whether Trump might actually win the White House. Strzok responds: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

5. The IG report couldn’t say whether Strzok’s texts biased him in the investigation.

“Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decisions to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigation lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”

The Point: The IG report is, largely, a confirmation of previously known information. But Strzok’s text message will give Trump fodder for his case that the “deep state” was out to get him all along.

Free admission for military service members at John Deere Classic 2018

MOLINE, Illinois-- The John Deere Classic is coming up in just a few weeks and they're making sure military service members get the VIP treatment.

As part of the JDC's Military Appreciation program, they've teamed up with Ray'z Barber Shop in Moline and Lowe's to give back to those who serve.

All military personnel currently holding a Common Access Card (CAC), as well as those who have retired from Armed Services and Veterans who have a valid ID card, will be given free admission along with 1 guest each day Thursday - Sunday during the John Deere Classic.

"Its for their families as well. There's a lot of military active and retired in this community, and its just something we wanted  to do here at Ray'z to give back."

Service members will be invited to a military outpost behind the number 18 tee for VIP viewing in an air conditioned suite.

Appropriate identification must be shown at the front gate to receive daily ticket or you may register online through SheerID. Veterans may display Department of Defense Uniform Services or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cards, or copy of DD214 form.


Third viewing area added to Red White and Boom event

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Quad City leaders are gearing up for another memorable year of Red White and Boom.

On June 14th QC leaders held a press conference at Modern Woodmen Park, on the new happenings with this years firework event on July 3rd.

They announced Red White and Boom will host a unique fireworks display on the Mississippi River with two of the barges dueling off the celebratory show on the river beginning at 9:30 p.m.

A third viewing option called Vanderboom was added to the list of areas to watch the fireworks. The viewing area will be located in LeClaire Park in Downtown Davenport and open at 5 p.m.

"That's going to be a great addition for people who want to spread a blanket, sit on the ground bring a picnic basket and enjoy the fireworks," said Ken Croken, Chair of Red White and Boom. He said the area will also

Family Friend activities will start at 5 p.m for both Schwiebert Park and Modern Woodmen Park. Activities at Schwiebert include inflatables, food vendors and a beer garden by Bent Brewery.

QC families of suicide victims call for 911-like hotline number

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."

The D.C. group meets with Iowa U.S. Congressman David Young.

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.

The D.C. group meets with Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.

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.

Malchodi is the Secretary and Walk Chair in Bettendorf. She coordinates the Out of Darkness Walk each year.

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."

Support group for survivors of suicide loss will launch in August

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