WQAD News

Burlington dog that survived in woods alone for 3 years reunited with long-lost family

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — After three years of wondering if their family dog, Ginger,  was alive, the George family from Ucross, Wyoming got the answer in Sioux Falls on Wednesday.

It all began in August of 2015 in Burlington, Iowa.

In a hotel room in Sioux Falls nearly seven hours away from Burlington, is where we found Kandi Glick, her boyfriend Grant and a dog Glick rescued.

“We started getting a lot of calls saying there was a dog running loose in town,” Glick said. “People said they saw a deceased dog, so I’d go to the spot where they’d say it was and it wouldn’t be there.”

Glick runs the Des Moines County Regional Humane Society. She couldn’t find the deceased dog … because the dog was alive and well … but let’s rewind …

“I actually made a phone call to the husband and said, ‘Hey, were you in Burlington, Iowa about three years ago, this is going to be the weirdest phone call you ever get,'” Glick said.

On the other end was Jennifer George’s husband BJ. The Georges had gotten calls and emails like this before.

“My mom, the dog was originally hers and she had passed away about four months earlier,” George said.

BJ was on a business trip in Burlington and Jennifer didn’t want to leave the dog at a kennel, so they brought her along and she escaped from the house the family was renting …

“Literally 15 minutes we were in the neighborhood looking and never saw a glimpse,” George said.

Jennifer stayed behind and searched for their dog for days with the help of the community. but she was gone. Until last week when Glick started getting calls.

“This is really funny to say, but McDonalds saved her life. people dumped food at the car wash and it’s McDonalds, it’s Taco Bell, it’s Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived we don’t know how she did it.”

Glick set up a trap with hot dogs and captured a dog on Saturday who looked a lot like the Georges’ missing dog. Glick scoured a missing pets Facebook page she runs for a post with a phone number from three years ago. She found it. But when the family got the call they were skeptical.

“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn’t look like the same dog,” Glick said.

Ginger, shortly after her rescue.

But a trip to the groomer– revealed what would be key.

“She had on–Jennifer remembered– a purple and lime green collar,” Glick said.
“I think I was speechless,” George said.

It’s a little faded now but the collar held up on the inside — purple and lime green. And through a hail storm on Wednesday, Jennifer and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha made the eight hour trek from Ucross, Wyoming for the best family reunion.

Ginger was a little confused, but after about 45 seconds, she recognized Samantha and started to get cozy with both her and Jennifer, offering plenty of love and kisses.

George said this reunion is all thanks to Glick.

“She’s just an angel,” George said. “What she does …is she reunites families and she gave us back this dog that meant so much to us and without her people wouldn’t have these moments.”

George credited the power of social media for making all of this happen, with Glick finding the old post with BJ’s phone number on it and calling. Glick said folks in Burlington were so thrilled she had found the family and that it was the Georges’ dog that had been gone for three years, many people donated money for Glick and her boyfriend Grant to make the trip to Sioux Falls to meet up with Jennifer and Samantha.

 

Inside a Texas Wal-Mart where the US is holding 1,400 immigrant children

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The strangeness of the largest migrant children’s center in the United States, near the border with Mexico, shows up in the details.

Here, there are 1,469 boys, ages 10 to 17, housed inside the 250,000-square-foot shell of a former Walmart superstore. None of the 313 bedrooms have doors. Or ceilings, so that children lying in their beds look up past where their walls end to the scaffolding of the superstore roof high above. The hundreds of children neatly lined up for their supper of barbecued chicken or sandwiches file past murals of presidents, including one of Donald Trump, alongside with a curious quote from him in Spanish alongside the English: “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

On Wednesday, following a controversy over turning away Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, when he tried to visit the facility on June 3, the US government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement opened the Casa Padre shelter in Brownsville to a tightly controlled news media visit.

Merkley had sought to look into the conditions under which the shelter’s children, who either crossed into the United States unaccompanied or were separated from their parents at the border, are being held. He linked his concerns to the new “zero-tolerance” border policies announced last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling for taking away children and prosecuting parents who cross the border with them illegally.

In just the first two weeks after Sessions announced that policy, 658 children crossed the border with their families and were presumably taken into ORR custody, according to Customs and Border Protection testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on May 23. In April, the Department of Health and Human Services told The New York Times that around the same number of children, “approximately 700,” had been taken from families at the border in the entire six preceding months.

With that increase, as of Wednesday, ORR spokesman Brian Marriott said, the office was holding 11,351 children in more than 100 shelters across 17 states.

At the Casa Padre shelter, which opened last year, the surge in numbers has been palpable. In March, the nonprofit Southwest Key Programs, which also operates 26 other shelters in Texas, Arizona and California, had a capacity of 1,186, according to a licensing document posted in the shelter. More recently, as children flooded into the system, they had to get a variance from Texas regulators to boost its capacity temporarily to 1,497. The average population of the shelter has jumped by nearly 300 in less than a month, said Martin Hinojosa, director of compliance for Southwest Key Programs.

Today, the shelter is almost at capacity again. Five cot-like beds have been squeezed into bedrooms built originally for four.

Juan Sanchez, the founder and president of Southwest Key Programs, refused to discuss the “zero-tolerance” policy.

“Our goal is to reunite these children with their families as soon as we can do that,” he told reporters Wednesday. He said that more than 70% of the 5,129 children at Southwest Key Programs shelters were unaccompanied, rather than separated from their parents. However, he conceded that the number of children separated was rising.

Reporters allowed to visit the Casa Padre shelter had to agree to preconditions, including that no cameras, phones or recording devices were allowed. Officials also declined to allow interviews with children or employees of the shelter.

The massive shelter retains a warehouse vibe — noisy but highly organized, with scores of staffers leading skeins of boys to various activities. In recreation rooms, some boys watched a soccer match on TV; some took part in a tai chi class; others played pool or foosball (in one case with a cue ball). Still others sat in classrooms. Because of the crowding, the boys attend school in six-hour morning or afternoon shifts, five days a week. The bedrooms reporters were shown seemed antiseptically clean.

Nearly all the boys are Central American or Mexican, Hinojosa said. Last year, 95% of all children detained at the border and transferred to ORR custody were from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, according to data from Customs and Border Protection. Children and families from those countries have been fleeing grinding poverty, gang violence and some of the highest national homicide rates in the world.

Though they have a variety of scheduled activities to keep them busy, the boys spend almost all their time indoors at the former superstore, aside from one hour a day outside for PE and another hour of free time they can spend on the basketball courts or soccer fields adjacent to the shelter building. Many of the boys stared at the visitors with obvious curiosity, greeting reporters with “Hola” or “Buenas tardes” as they walked by.

There are several banks of telephones at the shelter. Hinojosa said that children at the shelter are able to call their families, and that Southwest Key Programs, as part of its intake process, works to find out how to get in touch with family members. Parents held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities may not have phone access or be reachable, he acknowledged, but he said that “a majority of separated children have other family here they can call.”

Alexia Rodriguez, a vice president and legal counsel for Southwest Key Programs, said that, in cooperation with ORR, “a system is being set up” to connect separated children with their parents. She was unable to provide further details on Wednesday.

The boys at Casa Padre stay there an average of 49 days before being placed with a sponsor — usually a relative — reunited with parents or deported, said Sanchez, Southwest Key’s president. The average for all ORR shelters is 56 days and rising.

How much of the surge in children housed at Casa Padre is due to the new family separation policy is not yet clear. From October through May, the Border Patrol apprehended 32,372 unaccompanied minors, up about 1,300 from a year earlier. Meanwhile, apprehensions of “family units,” as the agency calls children traveling with parents, fell to 59,113, down nearly 2,000 from the previous year.

These numbers don’t include families or children who have shown up at a legal port of entry and applied for asylum. At least some such families say their children have also been taken away.

Southwest Key Programs, which has operated immigrant children’s shelters since 1997, has received more than $807 million in federal grants over the past three fiscal years for services for immigrant children. It currently houses 5,129 kids, almost half the number in the shelter system altogether.

Sanchez, who also is featured on a large wall mural at Casa Padre, declined to discuss whether harsher border policies are benefitting or straining Southwest Key.

Asked about reports that the Department of Health and Human Services is considering easing the shelter capacity crunch by using Fort Bliss, near El Paso, or other military bases as locations to house 1,000 or more children in tents temporarily, Sanchez said of the organization, “We’re not going to do tent cities.”

 

Photographer works as chef at South Pole to capture incredible photos, videos

DENVER – If you've wondered what it's like at the South Pole, one Denver photographer spent nearly a year there and took some unbelievable photographs.

Hunter Davis "wintered over" to the South Pole Station in Antarctica where he served as a sous chef for a group of scientists while also taking tremendous pictures and videos.

Davis worked six days a week and when his shift ended he ventured out into temperatures around 100 degrees below zero to take pictures and video.

Davis said getting a picture in those elements required him to pack his camera into a styrofoam box full of towels and warm water bottles with only a little hole for the lens to poke out of.

The South Pole features six months of pure darkness and six months of daylight.

"It's like being on a spaceship because you go out at noon and the Milky Way is right above you and the Auroras are right there," Davis told KDVR.

Davis said that once you're at the South Pole, you're there for at least 10 months with no flights coming in or out. "It's quicker to evacuate the space station than it is to be evacuated from the South Pole station," Davis said.

Only 47 other people were there with Davis, from scientists to other workers.

Davis studied photography at the Art Institute of Colorado and MSU Denver. He also takes stunning photographs of Colorado - you can see more on his website.

 

Poll finds most parents and kids agree they disapprove of Trump

WASHINGTON — In some ways, President Donald Trump has brought Tammy Kennedy and her daughter, Sue Ann, together on politics.

They don’t agree on every issue— Tammy supports abortion rights, for example, while Sue Ann opposes them. Even so, the two agree on most issues and disapprove of the way Trump is doing his job.

“I think we’ve talked about him in terms of immigration,” said Tammy, 51, of Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration that has resulted in the separation of some parents and children at the borders. “I can’t imagine my child being ripped away from me.”

“We do agree on his performance,” Sue Ann, 18, said.

They’re part of a majority of American young people and their parents who disapprove of the job the president is doing, a poll shows. The survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that 57 percent of parents and 73 percent of young people ages 15 to 26 disapprove of the president’s performance.

The common ground doesn’t end there. The generations also agree that politics have become dysfunctional, and both say they’re dissatisfied with the two-party system.

On issues broadly, a 55 percent majority of young people and their parents say they usually see eye to eye, and 31 percent say they debate things diplomatically. Just 9 percent say they avoid talking politics, and only 5 percent say their debates turn into “World War III.”

And most say they agree with each other on a wide variety of individual issues, including feelings on the economy, health care, immigration, racism and abortion.

Still, hotheadedness abounds over politics, as anyone who has access to the internet knows. The survey showed that online, especially, politics seeps into interactions with extended family members. Twenty percent of young people and their parents say they have done the virtual equivalent of uninviting a family member — by blocking them or unfriending them — because of a disagreement over politics. An equal percentage of both generations say they have been blocked or unfriended.

Mackenzi Curtis, 22, said she stopped following one older family member, who’s in his 60s, on Facebook over his posts about the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Several students became gun control advocates after a gunman killed 17 people on Feb. 14.

“I was thinking they’re pretty much bullying a teenager that’s been through a traumatic experience,” Curtis, a mother of two in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said. “I think it has a lot to do with the difference in generations.”

Eleven percent of respondents say they have had a holiday gathering ruined over politics, while about an equal percentage say they’ve decided not to attend a family event for the same reason. Seventeen percent say political disagreements inspired a relative to skip a family event.

The two generations are equally likely to engage on social media on the Nov. 6 elections, the study found. A quarter of parents and young people say they’ll post or comment on the midterms, and similar percentages say they share memes about the races. That’s a key data point for the campaigns trying to rev up and drive voters to the polls.

By any measure, Trump revolutionized Twitter as a political instrument before his 2016 upset over Democrat Hillary Clinton and during his presidency. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, both parties are leveraging the power of social media, engagement and relationships as Republicans defend their congressional majorities and Democrats try to topple them.

Among parents and young people who say they aren’t of the same mind, young people say they tend to disagree with their parents most about racism, while their parents say the largest area of disagreement is gun control. Both generations tend to point to Trump and LGBT rights as sources of contention.

The generations say it can be hard to sway the other generation when differences exist, but not necessarily impossible.

Few young people and parents — only 11 percent overall — say they are always able to persuade each other to change his or her views, but another 53 percent say they can sometimes do it. Just 6 percent say they can always be persuaded, but 44 percent say they sometimes can be.

Larry Kapenstein, a 64-year-old retired postal worker in Middletown, Pennsylvania, said Trump most recently displeased his family by uninviting the Philadelphia Eagles — this year’s Super Bowl champions — to the White House. But while they agree on Trump, Kapenstein said one of his children can be hard to convince on taxes. He’s coming to terms with where chunks of his paycheck go. And that can lead to the question of who’s to blame for that.

Hint: Voters and the politicians they elect.

“He just doesn’t understand why we have to pay taxes,” Kapenstein said. “He’s just getting into the working world, but he just doesn’t get it.”

Mercy Medical’s plan for a psychiatric hospital in Clive, Iowa worries some neighborhood folks

CLIVE, Iowa — Some neighbors are speaking out against plans to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital in a Des Moines suburb.

Mercy Medical Center officials announced last month that they’re working with a national company on the $31 million project in Clive.

Safety was chief among concerns shared at a meeting Tuesday night with Mercy and Clive officials. Mercy officials say the facility would be run safely, with security cameras and locked doors.

Some residents asked why Mercy couldn’t add a psychiatric wing to its West Des Moines hospital, which has empty space, instead of building a new facility in a residential area. Mercy officials say they have other plans for that space but didn’t elaborate.

Mayor Scott Cirksena says Clive welcomes efforts to improve people’s health and that mental health is no exception.

Former Davenport housing official pleads guilty in hidden camera case

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Roy DeWitt, the former housing programs manager for the city of Davenport, admitted Tuesday that he placed a hidden camera in a locked employee-only bathroom at the city-owned Heritage High Rise apartments in March, the Quad City Times reports.

The 46-year-old Pella, Iowa, man did so “knowing that others would be recorded when staff had reasonable expectation of privacy” for the purpose of “arousing/satisfying sexual desire of any person, without victims’ consent,” according to a written plea of guilty filed through his attorney, Steve Hanna, in Scott County District Court.

DeWitt pleaded guilty to eight counts of invasion of privacy, an aggravated misdemeanor, each punishable by up to two years in prison.

The plea is open, meaning that Scott County prosecutors can make any recommendation when he is sentenced July 27.

However, prosecutors wrote in a plea agreement filed Tuesday that they would agree to a cap of six years of incarceration if recommended, if he accepted the plea agreement by Aug. 31.

They also agreed not to file any additional charges for all videos discovered on the recording device and on his phone, according to the plea agreement.

DeWitt remains free on bond.

Around 10:50 a.m. March 14, detectives from the Davenport Police Department launched an investigation at Heritage High Rise, 501 W. 3rd St.

According to an arrest affidavit filed by police:

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DeWitt concealed a spyware digital movie camera in an employee bathroom that required key access where employees would reasonably have an expectation of privacy.

The camera was positioned in a manner to capture and record video for later playback purposes to cause arousal and sexual gratification.

Eight people were recorded multiple times from approximately January 2017 through March 2018 without their consent.

The hidden camera was positioned to record them in full or partial nudity. Male and female staff members were recorded, as well as images of DeWitt masturbating. He also was recorded holding the camera in his hands. Deleted images from the hidden camera were recovered on a memory card located on his personal cellphone.

DeWitt sent a text message to one of the people depicted in the videos the morning after it was discovered and removed saying, “you found it?” and wanting to discuss it. That person was offended by DeWitt’s actions, according to the affidavit.

He was placed on paid administrative leave the day the camera was discovered. He was fired on March 19 after he failed to attend an interview and pre-disciplinary meeting.

DeWitt was originally hired as a part-time horticultural technician with the Parks Department on Sept. 26, 2007.

He was hired as a neighborhood service specialist with Community Planning and Economic Development on Nov. 1, 2007, and was promoted to assisted housing program manager on July 1, 2014.

This article originally appeared in the Quad City Times.

Thursday will be the last day of the 80s for a while

A few showers and rumbles of thunder aren’t out of the question this morning and early afternoon. However, much of the rain will stay west of the Mississippi River today. Many of us will see a mix of sun and clouds by the afternoon with highs in the low 80s.

While there in a chance for a few more storms late tonight, the main story is that it’s going to be warm and muggy! Overnight lows will drop into the upper 60s with some cloud cover in place.

The heat and humidity will really crank up on Friday as highs soar into the low 90s. An isolated shower or storm can’t be ruled out. Highs will climb into the mid to even upper 90s on Saturday and Sunday! With plenty of sunshine and high humidity, it will easily feel like 100+ at times. With the heat index that high, it’s imperative to drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks if you plan on being outside this weekend.

Meteorologist Taylor Graham

Miss Iowa Appears on Good Morning Quad Cities to Promote Upcoming Competition

MOLINE - Miss Iowa, Chelsea Dubczak, appeared on Good Morning Quad Cities on Thursday, June 14th.

She talked to us about the Miss Iowa 2018 Competition, which takes place this Saturday, June 16th at the Adler Theatre in downtown Davenport, Iowa.

Miss Iowa also weighed in on the changes taking place at the Miss America Pageant this year. It was announced last week that the event is going to become more of a competition that's not based on looks, with the cancellation of its swimsuit competition.

Click here to live stream any of our newscasts.

BREAKING: One person hurt after overnight shooting in Davenport

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Police were called to the area of 14th Street and Fillmore Street in Davenport just before midnight Thursday morning for reports of shots fired.

One person was taken to Genesis Hospital with life threatening injuries, and was later flown to the University of Iowa hospital in Iowa City. Detectives are still investigating the incident.

East Moline Police play local community members in annual Hoops for Hope event

EAST MOLINE, Illinois-- Dozens of people stopped by Hereford Park to watch the East Moline Police Department take on a local community organization in a friendly game of basketball Wednesday, June 13.

United We Ball hosted its 3rd annual Hoops 4 Hope event.

“We want everybody to engage with the officers more, people to meet new friends and people to learn something about them,” says Kannon Burrage.

The East Moline native and professional basketball player started the program in 2016 during his off-time playing overseas.

He’s now accepted a local coaching position and he says the Hoops 4 Hope even has only grown.

“This is pretty much my vision on steroids, so this is a real beautiful thing a real beautiful day,” says Burrage.

A chance for police officers to build relationships with the community both on and off the court.

“Usually we’re dealing with trouble situations and when we get to come out in a positive way and interact with the neighborhoods and the families, it is just fantastic,” says Lieutenant John Showalter.

Right now, United We Ball is 3-0 against the East Moline Police Department.

Burrage says next year he plans to mix up players from the police department and the community.

Bandits move into first place tie, North Scott baseball wins, Ri Post 200 wins Veterans Cup, 2-hole in ones

Quad Cities River Bandits move into a tie with Clinton for first place after beating the Lumberkings 5-4.

North Scott Baseball shuts out Maquoketa 8-0.

Rock Island Legion Post 200 beats Moline Legion Post 246,  5-2 to win the first Veterans Cup.

Two local golfers Sharon Kundel and Debby Wheeler each made a hole in one on the same hole on the same day at Indian Bluff Golf Course.  The two ladies aced the Par 3 5th hole which was playing 126 yards.  The National Hole in One registry says that the odds of this happening are 17-million to 1.

Apple closes law enforcement loophole for the iPhone

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(CNN Money) — Apple is about to make it much harder for law enforcement agencies to gain access to information on iPhones.

The company will include a new feature, called USB Restricted Mode, in a future update of its iOS software, which runs on iPhones and iPads.

The feature disables data transfer through the Lightning port one hour after a phone was last locked, preventing popular third-party hacking tools used by law enforcement from accessing the device. The port can still be used for charging.

“We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data,” Apple said in a statement Wednesday. “We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”

The update could reignite tensions between Apple and the US government, which wants technology companies to include backdoors — official ways to get around encryption and other security measures — on their devices. Technology companies including Apple have objected to such requests.

Related: How cops could get your data without unlocking your phone

Reuters and The New York Times first reported that Apple had confirmed the new feature. Vice’s Motherboard previously reported that Apple was testing the change.

If a law enforcement agency wants to gain access to an iPhone, its options are limited, even with a warrant. The data on the device is encrypted and cannot be pulled off without cooperation from Apple or the phone’s owner — or possibly by using a corpse’s fingerprint.

The FBI and Apple faced off over the issue in court in 2016. The FBI demanded Apple create special software so it could unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the attackers in the San Bernardino shooting in 2015.

Apple didn’t end up building that software. Instead, the FBI purchased a tool from a third-party that let it hack into the device.

The practice has spread in recent years, with law enforcement agencies around the world buying devices that can pull information off a locked phone. Companies including Cellebrite and Grayshift sell the devices, which plug into the Lightning port.

Related: U.S. tries to force Apple to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

Apple told CNNMoney that its security update, including the Restricted Mode feature, is meant to prevent criminal attacks rather than stymie law enforcement agents investigating cases. The update fixes a vulnerability that could be exploited by bad actors and police alike, the company said.

One internet privacy advocate said Apple’s move was a win for the security of all iPhone users.

“Law enforcement is in the golden age of surveillance, with an unprecedented ability to look into every aspect of our lives, and more data available than ever before,” said Kurt Opsahl, deputy executive director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We should not weaken security for millions of innocent users just to keep one exploit working longer.”

The FBI and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside of regular office hours.

The update will be available in iOS 12, the company’s latest mobile operating system, when it comes out later this year. iOS 12 works on the iPhone 5S and later models.

The states that spend the most (and least) on public education

In the wake of multiple teacher strikes that have prompted national attention towards educators’ salaries and education spending, the U.S. Census Bureau just released its updated Annual Survey of School System Finances covering Fiscal Year 2016. According to the report, total current spending of public elementary-secondary school systems for the U.S. in 2016 was $587 billion, a 3.3% increase from 2015. With over 48 million students enrolled in school in the U.S., the per pupil current spending nationwide is $11,762, an increase of 3.2% since 2015.

Whether increased spending yields better outcomes or is a sign of bloated administrative costs is controversial. A recent study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley has indicated that higher education spending correlates with higher scores on the federal NAEP exam, while another study from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance reported no correlation between spending and test scores or graduation rates. Critics of educational spending argue that too much of the education budget (almost 40% at the national level) is allocated for teacher salaries, which average $58,950 nationwide, and should be spent on other programs and resources for students.

While in part funded from federal sources, public education in the U.S. is predominantly financed by state and local revenue sources, which creates large disparities in spending across states. To identify which states spend the most and least on public education, Credit Sesame, a credit score and financial management platform, analyzed the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data released in May of 2018. To compare spending figures against teacher salaries and student outcomes, Credit Sesame also incorporated data from the National Education Association, U.S. Department of Education, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Based on the analysis, states in the Northeast tend to spend the most money per pupil, with New York (ranked #1) spending three times more per pupil than Utah (ranked #51).

At the state level, per pupil spending is strongly correlated with average teacher salaries, which makes sense given the large portion of the budget that goes towards instructor salaries. However, when comparing state-level student outcomes (such as NAEP scores and graduation rates) with per pupil current spending, Credit Sesame found no obvious correlations—meaning that states spending the most per student today don’t appear to have better outcomes. In fact, some states such as Washington, D.C., Alaska, and Hawaii have significantly above average spending and below average academic performance. Conversely, states such as Utah, Indiana, Colorado, and Idaho appear to be doing more with less. Their students outperform those in other states on national assessments despite below average spending.

This analysis suggests that when it comes to improving academic performance, the availability of funds is only part of the equation. Where, when, and how such funds are deployed are likely more impactful than the total amount being spent. That said, whether you’re a new parent evaluating public school options in your state or just a concerned citizen, the list below—ranked by per pupil current spending—will show how your state stacks up.

The states ranked (least to most spending):


Photo Credit: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

51. Utah
  • Per pupil current spending: $6,953 (51st)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 5.8%
  • Average teacher salary: $47,244 (46th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 85.2% (27th)
  • Total enrollment: 580,215 (28th)
  • Total spending: $4.10 billion (34th)


Photo Credit: Charles Knowles / Alamy Stock Photo

50. Idaho
  • Per pupil current spending: $7,157 (50th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $47,504 (43rd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 79.7% (40th)
  • Total enrollment: 274,849 (39th)
  • Total spending: $1.97 billion (44th)


Photo Credit: Andrew Zarivny / Alamy Stock Photo

49. Arizona
  • Per pupil current spending: $7,613 (49th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $47,403 (45th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 79.5% (43rd)
  • Total enrollment: 938,274 (16th)
  • Total spending: $7.28 billion (25th)


Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

48. Oklahoma
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,097 (48th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $45,245 (49th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 81.6% (36th)
  • Total enrollment: 672,777 (26th)
  • Total spending: $5.47 billion (30th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

47. Mississippi
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,702 (47th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.9%
  • Average teacher salary: $42,925 (50th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 82.3% (34th)
  • Total enrollment: 486,245 (33rd)
  • Total spending: $4.25 billion (33rd)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

46. North Carolina
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,792 (46th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $49,837 (35th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 85.9% (22nd)
  • Total enrollment: 1,462,036 (9th)
  • Total spending: $12.92 billion (13th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

45. Tennessee
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,810 (45th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $48,456 (40th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 88.5% (8th)
  • Total enrollment: 999,265 (15th)
  • Total spending: $8.89 billion (21st)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

44. Florida
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,920 (44th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $49,407 (36th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 80.7% (37th)
  • Total enrollment: 2,776,933 (3rd)
  • Total spending: $25.34 billion (7th)


Photo Credit: Visions of America, LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

43. Nevada
  • Per pupil current spending: $8,960 (43rd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 4.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $57,376 (18th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 73.6% (49th)
  • Total enrollment: 441,623 (35th)
  • Total spending: $3.98 billion (35th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

42. Texas
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,016 (42nd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.7%
  • Average teacher salary: $52,575 (26th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 89.1% (5th)
  • Total enrollment: 5,053,291 (2nd)
  • Total spending: $45.89 billion (3rd)


Photo Credit: Chris Boswell / Alamy Stock Photo

41. South Dakota
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,176 (41st)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.7%
  • Average teacher salary: $42,668 (51st)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 83.9% (28th)
  • Total enrollment: 134,045 (44th)
  • Total spending: $1.25 billion (50th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

40. Alabama
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,236 (40th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $48,868 (37th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 87.1% (16th)
  • Total enrollment: 734,652 (24th)
  • Total spending: $6.91 billion (26th)


Photo Credit: Joe Ferrer / Alamy Stock Photo

39. Colorado
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,575 (39th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $46,506 (47th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 78.9% (45th)
  • Total enrollment: 880,678 (19th)
  • Total spending: $8.52 billion (22nd)


Photo Credit: William Scott / Alamy Stock Photo

38. New Mexico
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,693 (38th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -0.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $47,500 (44th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 71.0% (50th)
  • Total enrollment: 319,861 (36th)
  • Total spending: $3.10 billion (38th)


Photo Credit: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

37. Georgia
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,769 (37th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $54,602 (24th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 79.4% (44th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,727,085 (6th)
  • Total spending: $17.12 billion (9th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

36. Arkansas
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,846 (36th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $48,616 (38th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 87.0% (17th)
  • Total enrollment: 479,177 (34th)
  • Total spending: $4.75 billion (32nd)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

35. Indiana
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,856 (35th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.7%
  • Average teacher salary: $50,554 (33rd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 86.8% (19th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,002,696 (14th)
  • Total spending: $9.96 billion (18th)


Photo Credit: Steven Frame / Alamy Stock Photo

34. Kentucky
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,863 (34th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $52,339 (27th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 88.6% (7th)
  • Total enrollment: 686,440 (25th)
  • Total spending: $6.83 billion (27th)


Photo Credit: Jeff Zehnder / Alamy Stock Photo

33. Kansas
  • Per pupil current spending: $9,960 (33rd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -0.8%
  • Average teacher salary: $47,984 (42nd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 85.7% (23rd)
  • Total enrollment: 495,545 (32nd)
  • Total spending: $4.94 billion (31st)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

32. South Carolina
  • Per pupil current spending: $10,249 (32nd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $48,598 (39th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 82.6% (33rd)
  • Total enrollment: 743,320 (23rd)
  • Total spending: $7.75 billion (23rd)


Photo Credit: Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo

31. Missouri
  • Per pupil current spending: $10,313 (31st)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $48,293 (41st)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 89.0% (6th)
  • Total enrollment: 891,554 (18th)
  • Total spending: $9.42 billion (20th)


Photo Credit: Brian Overcast / Alamy Stock Photo

30. Oregon
  • Per pupil current spending: $10,842 (30th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.8%
  • Average teacher salary: $61,631 (12th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 74.8% (48th)
  • Total enrollment: 574,252 (29th)
  • Total spending: $6.46 billion (28th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

29. Louisiana
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,038 (29th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.3%
  • Average teacher salary: $50,000 (34th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 78.6% (46th)
  • Total enrollment: 660,561 (27th)
  • Total spending: $7.31 billion (24th)


Photo Credit: Purestock / Alamy Stock Photo

28. Iowa
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,150 (28th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.9%
  • Average teacher salary: $55,443 (22nd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 91.3% (1st)
  • Total enrollment: 508,014 (30th)
  • Total spending: $5.69 billion (29th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

27. West Virginia
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,291 (27th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -0.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $45,701 (48th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 89.8% (3rd)
  • Total enrollment: 276,764 (38th)
  • Total spending: $3.17 billion (37th)


Photo Credit: Witold Skrypczak / Alamy Stock Photo

26. Montana
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,348 (26th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.9%
  • Average teacher salary: $51,422 (30th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 85.6% (24th)
  • Total enrollment: 145,240 (43rd)
  • Total spending: $1.66 billion (46th)


Photo Credit: Eric Franks / Alamy Stock Photo

25. Virginia
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,432 (25th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.7%
  • Average teacher salary: $51,049 (32nd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 86.7% (20th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,283,493 (12th)
  • Total spending: $14.75 billion (12th)


Photo Credit: Maryna Gumenyuk / Alamy Stock Photo

24. Wisconsin
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,456 (24th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.7%
  • Average teacher salary: $54,998 (23rd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 88.2% (9th)
  • Total enrollment: 857,736 (21st)
  • Total spending: $9.96 billion (17th)


Photo Credit: Adonis Villanueva / Alamy Stock Photo

23. California
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,495 (23rd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 9.8%
  • Average teacher salary: $78,711 (2nd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 83.0% (30th)
  • Total enrollment: 6,217,031 (1st)
  • Total spending: $72.64 billion (1st)


Photo Credit: Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo

22. Washington
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,534 (22nd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 7.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $54,147 (25th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 79.7% (40th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,083,973 (13th)
  • Total spending: $12.57 billion (14th)


Photo Credit: Susan Montgomery / Alamy Stock Photo

21. Michigan
  • Per pupil current spending: $11,668 (21st)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 1.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $62,200 (11th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 79.7% (40th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,335,713 (11th)
  • Total spending: $15.86 billion (10th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

20. Ohio
  • Per pupil current spending: $12,102 (20th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 4.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $57,000 (21st)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 83.5% (29th)
  • Total enrollment: 1,595,024 (7th)
  • Total spending: $20.56 billion (8th)


Photo Credit: robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

19. Nebraska
  • Per pupil current spending: $12,299 (19th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $52,338 (28th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 89.3% (4th)
  • Total enrollment: 315,542 (37th)
  • Total spending: $3.88 billion (36th)


Photo Credit: rudi1976 / Alamy Stock Photo

18. Minnesota
  • Per pupil current spending: $12,382 (18th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.6%
  • Average teacher salary: $57,346 (19th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 82.2% (35th)
  • Total enrollment: 811,157 (22nd)
  • Total spending: $10.52 billion (16th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

17. Maine
  • Per pupil current spending: $13,278 (17th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $51,077 (31st)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 87.0% (17th)
  • Total enrollment: 179,879 (41st)
  • Total spending: $2.49 billion (41st)


Photo Credit: Purestock / Alamy Stock Photo

16. North Dakota
  • Per pupil current spending: $13,373 (16th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $51,618 (29th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 87.5% (13th)
  • Total enrollment: 108,384 (48th)
  • Total spending: $1.46 billion (49th)


Photo Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

15. Hawaii
  • Per pupil current spending: $13,748 (15th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 7.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $57,674 (17th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 82.7% (32nd)
  • Total enrollment: 181,995 (40th)
  • Total spending: $2.52 billion (40th)


Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

14. Illinois
  • Per pupil current spending: $14,180 (14th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.1%
  • Average teacher salary: $61,602 (13th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 85.5% (25th)
  • Total enrollment: 2,030,717 (5th)
  • Total spending: $29.22 billion (4th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

13. Maryland
  • Per pupil current spending: $14,206 (13th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.1%
  • Average teacher salary: $66,961 (8th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 87.6% (12th)
  • Total enrollment: 879,196 (20th)
  • Total spending: $12.52 billion (15th)


Photo Credit: Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo

12. Delaware
  • Per pupil current spending: $14,713 (12th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 4.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $60,214 (14th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 85.5% (25th)
  • Total enrollment: 121,225 (47th)
  • Total spending: $1.85 billion (45th)


Photo Credit: Steven Frame / Alamy Stock Photo

11. New Hampshire
  • Per pupil current spending: $15,340 (11th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 4.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $57,253 (20th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 88.2% (9th)
  • Total enrollment: 179,682 (42nd)
  • Total spending: $2.78 billion (39th)


Photo Credit: Christian Hinkle / Alamy Stock Photo

10. Pennsylvania
  • Per pupil current spending: $15,418 (10th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 4.8%
  • Average teacher salary: $65,863 (10th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 86.1% (21st)
  • Total enrollment: 1,572,593 (8th)
  • Total spending: $26.26 billion (6th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

9. Rhode Island
  • Per pupil current spending: $15,532 (9th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.3%
  • Average teacher salary: $66,477 (9th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 82.8% (31st)
  • Total enrollment: 133,856 (45th)
  • Total spending: $2.24 billion (43rd)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

8. Massachusetts
  • Per pupil current spending: $15,593 (8th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.0%
  • Average teacher salary: $77,804 (3rd)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 87.5% (13th)
  • Total enrollment: 921,029 (17th)
  • Total spending: $15.47 billion (11th)


Photo Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

7. Wyoming
  • Per pupil current spending: $16,442 (7th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 2.4%
  • Average teacher salary: $58,650 (16th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 80.0% (39th)
  • Total enrollment: 94,511 (49th)
  • Total spending: $1.56 billion (48th)


Photo Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

6. Alaska
  • Per pupil current spending: $17,510 (6th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -13.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $68,138 (7th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 76.1% (47th)
  • Total enrollment: 132,477 (46th)
  • Total spending: $2.33 billion (42nd)


Photo Credit: API / Alamy Stock Photo

5. Vermont
  • Per pupil current spending: $17,873 (5th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -0.9%
  • Average teacher salary: $60,187 (15th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 87.7% (11th)
  • Total enrollment: 87,974 (50th)
  • Total spending: $1.65 billion (47th)


Photo Credit: Purestock / Alamy Stock Photo

4. New Jersey
  • Per pupil current spending: $18,402 (4th)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 0.9%
  • Average teacher salary: $69,623 (6th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly better than average
  • Graduation rate: 90.1% (2nd)
  • Total enrollment: 1,364,473 (10th)
  • Total spending: $26.76 billion (5th)


Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

3. Connecticut
  • Per pupil current spending: $18,958 (3rd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 3.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $72,561 (5th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Better than average
  • Graduation rate: 87.4% (15th)
  • Total enrollment: 499,494 (31st)
  • Total spending: $9.80 billion (19th)


Photo Credit: Vlad Ghiea / Alamy Stock Photo

2. District of Columbia
  • Per pupil current spending: $19,159 (2nd)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: -1.2%
  • Average teacher salary: $76,131 (4th)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: Significantly worse than average
  • Graduation rate: 69.2% (51st)
  • Total enrollment: 48,336 (51st)
  • Total spending: $1.01 billion (51st)


Photo Credit: Harold Stiver / Alamy Stock Photo

1. New York
  • Per pupil current spending: $22,366 (1st)
  • Per pupil current spending change from 2015: 5.5%
  • Average teacher salary: $79,637 (1st)
  • Nation’s Report Card performance: About average
  • Graduation rate: 80.4% (38th)
  • Total enrollment: 2,590,945 (4th)
  • Total spending: $61.45 billion (2nd)
Methodology:

Unless otherwise noted, the data presented in this analysis is for public elementary and secondary schools only.

Current spending and enrollment statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Survey of School System Finances” (2016), released in May of 2018. Current spending represents the amount spent by schools on daily operations, not including debt service, capital outlay, or reimbursement to other governments. Teacher salary statistics are from the National Education Association, Estimates of School Statistics, 2016-17. High school graduation rates are from the U.S. Department of Education, EDFacts Data (2015-2016). The graduation rate presented is the public high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate.

Nation’s Report Card performance was evaluated using 2017 data from the Institute of Education Sciences, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Math and Reading assessments for 8th grade students. For each state, the NAEP Math and Reading scores were averaged. The resulting averages were converted to percentiles and given qualitative scores.

The list of states is ranked by per pupil current spending for Fiscal Year 2016.

Hero teacher who stopped Indiana school shooting awarded a new car

CARMEL, Ind. – The teacher who stopped the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School was honored in a huge way on Wednesday, according to WXIN.

The Ed Napleton Automotive Group recognized 29-year-old Jason Seaman’s heroic efforts by giving him a new 2018 Hyundai Elantra.

“As I read more and more about Jason, I heard him say he didn’t think what he did was that heroic because it was the only acceptable action to take,” said Brian Napleton, Director of Midwest Operations at Ed Napleton Auto Group. “In my mind that way of thinking is what makes him a hero to me.”

Seaman is credited with tackling and disarming the shooter who opened fire inside Noblesville West Middle School in late May.  Seaman and student Ella Whistler, 13, were both shot during the attack. Whistler survived, but was critically wounded.

Seaman says the support from the community has been tremendous.

"It’s uplifted me. It's uplifted my wife, everybody that it's affected,” said Seaman. “There are 1,300 plus kids who go to that school and they all have parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. Every reach-out of support supports them too. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

But the dealership group hasn’t forgotten about the 13-year-old victim in the shooting. The Napleton family is also donating money to Whistler's family.

For every car sold between Memorial Day and Father’s Day at the family's four Indianapolis area dealerships, the auto group will donate $25. The money donated will help pay for Ella's medical expenses and therapy.

Trump admin expected to suspend August US-S. Korea drill

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(CNN) — The Trump administration is expected to announce the formal suspension of planning for major August multilateral military drills on the Korean Peninsula as soon as Thursday, according to several administration officials with knowledge of White House, State Department and Defense Department planning on how to carry out President Donald Trump’s decision announced at the Singapore summit.

Detailed Pentagon guidance is expected this week on carrying out Trump’s decision to suspend so-called “war games” with South Korea.

As the dust settles from the historic summit, some details about how Trump got the idea to offer a suspension of military exercises to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are becoming clearer.

A source familiar with the matter pushed back on the idea that Trump got the idea to halt joint exercises from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The source said that, if anything, it’s something that came from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been very vocal about it and has had direct conversations with Trump about the matter. The term “war games” was also a term coined by China and North Korea.

The source said halting the joint exercises was one of “many tools in the tool box” that the President took with him to meet with Kim but the final decision on what concession or concessions he would make wasn’t determined until he was able to size up Kim. He told his top advisers before going in that he wanted to see where the meeting would go, and in the end he felt Kim was being genuine so he was willing to wheel and deal.

“It was a game-time decision,” the source says.

That decision seemed to have caught parts of the military by surprise. A US defense official told CNN on Tuesday, hours after the announcement, that they had “received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises,” including the next big one in late August. The official said the military would continue its current coordination and work with South Korea until told otherwise.

An administration official familiar with the matter said members of the administration aboard Air Force One’s return trip to Washington were unhappy with the initial Pentagon reaction to the suspension, saying it wasn’t supportive enough. The official said at some point that sentiment was conveyed to the Pentagon. It is unclear how or exactly when it was communicated. But two other administration officials told CNN that by Wednesday morning it was clear to defense officials the White House was unhappy.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, and top commanders are trying to fashion detailed directives to the military on what exact exercises and drills will be suspended, several US officials told CNN. A major challenge, according to these officials, is to turn Trump’s broad intentions into detailed military guidance. For example, they say the notion of “war games” is not a specific military term, so the Pentagon has to determine exactly what Trump wants to have happen.

Officials continue to reiterate that all exercises are defensive in nature, even as Trump called them “provocative” — a word out of the North Korean playbook.

More than 24 hours after the summit ended, no one in the administration would openly say to what extent Mattis had been consulted before the decision to cancel exercises. At a news conference in Seoul, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if the Pentagon and the South Koreans had been asked for their views.

“I’m not going to talk to internal processes and discussions that were had,” he said.

The Defense Department chief spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that Mattis “was not surprised. He was consulted.” But several senior defense officials could not confirm Mattis knew of the decision well in advance and what advice, if any, he had an opportunity to offer Trump on a key military matter.

Pompeo did offer more of Trump’s reasoning on the exercise decision in Singapore.

“He made very clear that the condition precedent for the exercises not to proceed was productive, good-faith negotiations being ongoing and at the point it’s concluded that they’re not, the President’s commitment to not have those joint exercises take place will no longer be in effect,” Pompeo said. “He was unambiguous about that.”

The suspension is “a show of good faith” in the North Korean negotiations, said another administration official. However, the White House is continuing to draw the distinction that “readiness training and training exchanges” will continue.

But US military officials point out exercises often involve thousands of troops and months of planning, making it difficult to quickly restart them once suspended or canceled.

The August exercise, named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, has long been scheduled and final planning with several nations’ military forces is well underway. In 2017, the annual exercise involved 17,500 US service members, with 3,000 coming from outside South Korea. The drills include both high-level commanders in computer-simulated defensive exercises and units in the field, all practicing readiness under a scenario in which the Korean Peninsula goes from peace to a crisis stage and then into open conflict, according to a defense official.

Suspending the exercise has deep implications for Mattis’ relationships with defense ministers across the region.

Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have all participated in the drill in the past.

Another indicator that the allies were unaware of Trump’s decision was the quick statement from the South Korean government that they were trying to determine what the President’s announcement meant. Several defense officials told CNN there is concern some allies may believe Mattis and the Trump administration were keeping important decisions from them and sharing information first with Kim.

YOUR HEALTH: Harmonicas are helping patients breathe easier

WACO, Texas – It's not easy for John Moberly and his wife to get around.

She was already sick herself when John started having problems with COPD.  Now, to help his breathing, he uses oxygen.

And a harmonica.

"You're blowing and drawing so you're exercising your muscles, your diaphragm," explained John.

This is "Harmonicas for Health".

The music therapist teaches a class of COPD patients the correct way to breathe to make notes and familiar songs.

COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects 10 million people in the United States, and smoking is the leading cause.

Therapists say playing harmonica exercises muscles needed to pull air in and push air out of the lungs.   It also strengthens abdominal muscles for a better cough, helping patients clear the lungs.

Researchers are measuring health benefits over a 12 week period.

"We haven't finished the study yet but we are seeing significant improvement in muscle strength and the six-minute walk test," said Mary Hart, Research Project Manager and Registered Respiratory Therapist at Baylor University Medical Center.

"That's how far they can walk in six minutes."

TREATMENT:   Most people have mild forms of the disease for which little therapy is needed other than smoking cessation.   Even for more advanced stages of disease, effective therapy is available that can control symptoms, reduce your risk of complications and exacerbations, and improve your ability to lead an active life.  Bronchodilators are medications that usually come in an inhaler and relax the muscles around your airways.   Inhaled or oral steroids may be prescribed, or a combination inhaler that combines bronchodilators and inhaled steroids.  (Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353685)

Emma Johnson has trouble inhaling and depends on her oxygen tank and her harmonica playing friends.

"I can do this and it helps me. It's enjoyable, put it like that."

"I've met people in this harmonica class that will be friends of mine until the day that I die," said John. "And I love them all."

Where there is no cure for COPD, there is music.

"When you play the harmonica you have to pucker," explained Hart.   "When you COPD one of the ways that you relieve your shortness of breath or calm down when you get panicked and when you can't breathe is to take in a deep breath through your nose and blow out through pursed or puckered lips."

Science suggests there may be better breathing and better health.

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.

 

Volunteers improve Black Hawk Historic site trailway to make it more accessible

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- A small team of volunteers is making big improvements to the Black Hawk Historic Site.

Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) is teaming with River Action Inc to help reconstruct the trails of Black Hawk Historic site.

A team of seven from the Americorps Maple 6, took out an older staircase that was no longer safe to use that used to  lead down to the trail area. The team is working to implement a natural staircase into the trail which is already finished on the the east side of the park.

Around 150,000 people visit the historic preservation site each year for recreation and education purposes.

Updates to the trail also include, widening the pathways, adding railing and benches. Volunteers with Americorps said the improvements will make the trail safer and more accessible for the public to use.

"This is such a beautiful and important historical landmark to the area and so if the trails are wider, more people will get to enjoy them," said Emily Brough, Americorps Maple 6.

The improvements will also address the erosion problems on the project site. The newly installed railings, benches and seeding structures will help prevent soil erosion below the boardwalks.

Americorps Crews will be out making changes to the Black Hawk Historic Site until June 26th.

 

Man sentenced to federal prison after tweeting threats to U.S. Senator

A man was sentenced today to six years in federal prison after tweeting threats to U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.

Joseph Hilton Dierks, age 34, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a November 22, 2017, jury verdict found him guilty of three counts of sending threatening communications.

Evidence showed that Dierks began sending Senator Ernst threatening tweets in from his Twitter account to her Twitter accounts in August, 2017.  Police sent officer to Dierks’ home, and Dierks promised the officer he would “tone it down.” Within 24 hours later, he was back to tweeting threats.

In sentencing Dierks, Judge Reade emphasized Dierks’ escalating criminal history, which included a prior conviction for harassing a Waterloo police officer and carrying weapons.  Dierks also filmed himself tracing a knife on the outline of an unwitting neighbor across the street and offered to cut him up.

“The safety of elected officials is something that cannot be taken lightly,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr.

The Law

In 2015, a historic Supreme Court case, Elonis v. United States, attempted to establish judicial precedent for threatening someone over the Internet.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that federal law makes it a crime to transmit in interstate commerce “any communication containing any threat . . . to injure the person of another.” The opinion instructs the jury to decide whether the communication would be regarded by a “reasonable person” as a threat.

Elonis had posted to Facebook threatening messages and self-written rap lyrics that specifically mentioned his ex-wife and co-workers. Although he had mentioned that his lyrics were fictitious, those involved in his posts didn’t think so.

The Court’s closing argument showed that it didn’t matter whether the threats were serious coming from the defendant. All that matters is whether those targeted by the threats truly feel in danger.

 

Grassley wants answers about seclusion room use in Iowa

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Iowa Senator Charles Grassley said an investigation into seclusion rooms could find out how big of a problem they are.

The rooms, sometimes called isolation rooms or sensory rooms, are used in schools throughout Iowa to calm students down, including Davenport. They're sometimes used for special needs children and to prevent students from causing injury to themselves and others.

"We're trying to find out how big the problem is," Sen. Grassley said. "So we're asking for this study. And after the study is done, then we'll decide whether some action needs to be taken."

Last year, the Iowa Department of Education found the Iowa City School District used seclusion rooms inappropriately, sometimes as a punishment.

"There's some information coming that seems to be the overuse of it," Grassley said. "And we obviously know that some schools have been doing that. And they're probably doing it within the law."

The investigation would be conducted by the U.S. Inspector General and U.S. Department of Education.

Sen. Grassley, along with Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, made the call for an investigation last month.

Sen. Grassley said even if the investigation finds something wrong, it would likely be up to schools and the state to make a change.

"I'm not sure I'm going to look for a congressional response to it," Grassley said. "But I think maybe transparency will bring more accountability by local schools and states, and maybe make sure that there's more disciplined use of these solitude areas."

While both Senators from Iowa have called for this investigation, Iowa U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack has called for an end to seclusion rooms altogether.

New Captain’s Table could be open by summer of 2019

MOLINE, Illinois -- A new, bigger and better Captain's Table could be open in time for next summer's boating season if all goes according to plan, said business owner Rober Egger, six months after a massive fire destroyed the riverfront restaurant.

"I'm feeling good," said Egger, who has been working with city officials on financing the new development. "When you have a tragedy like a fire, you know it's going to take some time. We are going to get another building and crate an even more attractive destination than before."

The city is involved because it owns the property on which the restaurant sits. City leaders recently sent out a request for proposals for design of a new building. Of four received, the city staff has recommended going forward with the plan submitted by Andrew Dasso, an East Moline-based architect.

The design calls for for a two-story building with seating for 130 to 140 on the first floor, as well as a second floor observation deck and a 150 person banquet and reception area. There would also be a large outdoor patio that could accommodate 40 patrons.

The next step for Dasso and Egger is full Moline City Council approval, which could happen at its next meeting.

"It's not just about rebuilding a building, we have to reformulate the lease and guarantee how everything will be paid for," Egger said. "It's moving as fast as can be expected. It's exciting to see it all come to life."

Egger is targeting a ground breaking for later this summer.

Here are renderings from Dasso's design:

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