WQAD News

Average of 37 US children die in hot cars each year, says report

The official start of summer comes later this month, but already children have died after being left unattended in hot cars, according to the nonprofit National Safety Council, drawing attention to an issue that kills an average of 37 children a year.

The council released a report this month that says 742 US children died of heatstroke in vehicles between 1998 and 2017. Forty-two children died in these conditions in 2017, up from 39 the previous year.

Just 21 states have laws regarding this issue, the report says; eight include the possibility of felony charges for individuals who deliberately leave a child alone.

“There is a patchwork system across the country,” said Amy Artuso, the council’s senior program manager of advocacy. “We are calling for codification or increased consistency across the states. Either pass legislation, or improve existing legislation to better protect children.”

The report highlights the three main circumstances that result in pediatric vehicular hyperthermia: Fifty-five percent were parents or other caregivers unknowingly leaving a child behind, 27% were children gaining access to a car on their own, and 18% were parents or caregivers purposely leaving a child inside.

Typically, a caregiver plans to keep the child in the car for only a few minutes to run an errand and has no malicious intent. However, the sun creates a “greenhouse effect” in vehicles, according to a 2005 study. On an 86-degree day, the temperature in a car can increase by 19 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. A child’s body overheats faster than an adult’s and can start shutting down before then.

“We want parents to always look before they lock,” Artuso said. “Many parents who have lived this nightmare have said their mind was on autopilot.”

Stephanie Salvilla of Orlando, Florida, is one of those parents.

One morning in July 2009, she was running on four hours of sleep and adjusting to a new routine. Her husband put the children in the car that morning, so she did not place bottles in the front seat as a reminder like she normally did.

Salvilla first dropped off her 5-year-old daughter, and she says her brain “rebooted” when she saw her work building. Her 5-month-old son, Gannon, stayed behind in the car and the blistering Florida sun. She spent the day chatting to colleagues about him and planning weekend activities. It was after work when she found her son lifeless in her car.

Salvilla now speaks with parents to remind them that the experience could happen to anyone.

“Maybe they feel like a good parent could never forget,” she said. “Maybe they feel like their love for their child would supersede their nerve cells and memory cells.”

Salvilla also works with the safety organization KidsAndCars.org advocating for technology in cars to remind parents to check the back seat before locking up and walking away.

“There are reminders to put your seat belt on, turn off the headlights and take the key out of the ignition,” said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org. “There should be something that tells you if you’ve left your child behind.”

Salvilla says such reminders would have helped her. “With one simple change of routine that morning, I lost my son, and it was my fault,” she said. “I needed those visual cues, and it failed.”

Provisions to require visual or audio reminders for children left in cars have been included in the federal SELF DRIVE Act, which was introduced and passed the House in 2017. The comparable AV START Act was introduced in the Senate the same year and passed the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and awaits confirmation by the full Senate.

The new National Safety Council report also calls for the protection of anyone who acts in “good faith” to save a child from a hot car, the removal of “safe” time periods when kids may be left unattended in cars and the allocation of money from fines to education programs for parents, caregivers and offenders.

While supporters wait for these technological upgrades, the council and KidsAndCars.org advise caregivers to keep purses, cell phones or even a shoe in the back seat as a mental prompt to look before locking. Setting up a system with child care providers to contact guardians if a child does not show up as expected could also lead to a decrease in these preventable deaths, they say.

The Eric Factor: Heat waves more dangerous thanks to ‘Urban Heat Island’

Get ready for a heat wave! While we hit 99 degrees on May 28th, that heat came with relatively low levels of humidity. So, while hot, it wasn’t oppressively humid. This weekend’s air mass will be different.

And one thing to keep in mind is the Urban Heat Island. That is the effect buildings and pavement have on the environment. Have you ever wondered why Meteorologists encourage people to wear light colored clothing during times of hot weather? It’s because light colors reflect more of the sun’s heat and will keep you cooler.

The same works for the urban areas of our cities and towns. The concrete and asphalt absorb more heat and take longer to cool off in the nighttime hours. The Urban Heat Island is most significant on sunny days with clear nights (exactly what is planned this upcoming weekend).

Climate Central looks at how Urban Heat Island affects major cities

During optimum conditions, the inner core of cities can be 22 degrees warmer than the outlying areas. City Summers are on average 2 degrees warmer than the countryside which means that cities like Davenport, Iowa have ten more 90 degree days each Summer, versus other places in Scott County like Blue Grass and Princeton.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Trump’s North Korean gamble ends with ‘special bond’ with Kim

(CNN) -- Nearly five hours of unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un culminated on Tuesday with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.

"We both want to do something. We both are going to do something. And we have developed a very special bond. So, people are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy," Trump said at the conclusion of the landmark summit during a formal ceremony.

The document he and Kim signed said the North Korean leader "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." In exchange, Trump agreed to "provide security guarantees" to North Korea.

READ: The full agreement signed by Trump and Kim

But there was no mentioning the previous US aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization." And Kim's commitments did not appear to go beyond what he already pledged to do in April when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in along their countries' border.

Tuesday's summit was the result of an extraordinary gamble for both Trump and Kim, the rogue kingdom's despotic leader. Trump hailed the talks as a historic, and personal, achievement.

"We learned a lot about each other and our countries," Trump said after sitting next to Kim and signing the document, which was bound in a leather binder. "I learned he's a very talented man."

He said he would "absolutely" extend an invitation to the White House to Kim, who also heralded a new era.

"Today, we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind," Kim said through a translator. "The world will see a major change."

READ: Road to Singapore: How we got here

The two men -- both intent on making history -- greeted each other earlier in the day with extended hands in front of a row of US and North Korean flags, a previously unthinkable sight that reflects a new chapter in the two countries' acrimonious relationship.

Trump's threats to politely walk out of the meeting if his expectations were unmet did not materialize. Instead he predicted he could "solve a big problem, a big dilemma" alongside his new partner.

"Working together, we'll get it taken care of," Trump said.

The remarks came amid an improbable series of events that few could have anticipated even three months ago. The unlikely images of US and North Korean counterparts engaging in friendly dialogue lent the day an air of unreality. In a detailed menu, the White House said the men were served Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Other developments also fueled that impression. Minutes before the historic handshake, Trump tweeted that his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow had suffered a heart attack. Immediately after the encounter, Dennis Rodman -- one of the only Americans to have met Kim -- was openly weeping while being interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo.

Even Kim seemed to acknowledge the surreality of the day.

"Many people in the world will think of this as a (inaudible) form of fantasy ... from a science fiction movie," his translator was overheard saying as the two leaders walked down a white-columned colonnade.

The day began with Trump patting Kim on the back and placing his hand on the North Korean's shoulder as they walked into their first meeting. Their body language was openly friendly, a striking warmth given Kim's iron grip on power and dismal record on human rights. Trump's move to meet him attracted fierce criticism for normalizing a regime routinely called out for its human rights abuses, that over years has built an image of fearsome renegade regime, throwing around threats of nuclear war.

It was not clear whether Trump raised those issues during the meetings. When asked if he confronted Kim over the death of Otto Warmbier -- the American who died days after his release from North Korean captivity -- Trump did not respond.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim alluded to the longstanding enmity between his country and the United States.

"It has not been easy to come to this point," Kim said, according to a CNN translation of his remarks. "For us, the past has been holding us back and old practices and prejudices have been covering our eyes and ears, but we have been able to overcome everything to arrive here today."

Trump nodded in agreement.

The meeting comes only months after the two men traded nuclear taunts, ratcheting up tensions and leading to fears of war.

Whether nuclear disarmament is indeed the outcome of Tuesday's summit won't be known for years, if not decades. But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America's longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump's gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure.

After the men shook hands, they repaired inside for one-on-one talks. In that first meeting they were joined only by translators, a break from standard practice of having at least one aide present for high-stakes huddles.

Later in the day, advisers joined the talks for a larger bilateral session and a working lunch. Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who has lent his Korea expertise to the talks.

In the lead-up to the summit, US and North Korean officials were convening contentious final-hour negotiations in a Ritz Carlton hotel here in a bid to narrow gaps on key aspects of the meeting.

It's not clear what the US side has been able to extract from the North Koreans in terms of their willingness to get rid of their nuclear weapons or allow inspectors into the country to catalog the scale of their program.

Trump took keen interest in the pageantry of the day, insisting the pictures beamed around the world reflect a commanding leader making a decisive, world-altering move. At the same time, he'd admitted he doesn't believe he requires extensive preparation to take stock of Kim.

Instead, he told reporters last weekend he would rely on "my touch, my feel" to assess the young and mercurial leader.

On Monday, the White House announced that Trump would depart earlier than expected for Washington. But before he leaves, he'll sit for an interview with his friend, the Fox host Sean Hannity, and convene a media availability for other reporters.

A US official confirmed to CNN Trump's departure was moved up by more than 12 hours because Kim set his own departure for shortly after the summit.

Tuesday's meeting, convened at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa, comes just three months after Trump accepted North Korea's invitation for talks on the spot. It was an extraordinarily compressed timeline for the landmark summit, one that left aides scrambling to initiate communication with the hermit nation.

The sides first spoke through intelligence channels, with US analysts working to determine Kim's true willingness to abandon a nuclear program started by his grandfather and viewed by Pyongyang as a security blanket from outside aggressors.

Pompeo, who led the outreach as CIA director, traveled twice to North Korea for preliminary talks. His sessions with Kim amounted to the most robust contact ever between the United States and the North Korean leader, providing critical information about a man about whom little is known.

But a major advancement came in late April when South Korea's Moon met with Kim at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a diplomatic opening that laid the basis for the future engagement with Trump. Moon has pressed for a diplomatic path to east tensions on the peninsula, fearing a more violent alternative.

Talks proceeded at multiple levels, including logistical discussions to allay Kim's fears of being deposed while traveling further afield than he ever has before as the country's leader. The site of the historic talks was a matter of intense speculation before the US President announced on Twitter it would occur here in Singapore, the flashy Southeast Asian city-state that has eagerly accommodated the spectacle.

More than 2,500 journalists have convened here, with each leader's every movement tracked carefully. A day before the summit, Trump mostly remained inside his Shangri-la hotel, emerging only to meet with his Singaporean counterpart at the presidential palace. Later in the day, he met with senior advisers and phoned the leaders of Japan and South Korea.

Kim, meanwhile, was spotted taking a moonlit stroll around the high-end Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, which is owned by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. Kim was cheered by onlookers who caught sight of the dictator, who until earlier this spring was not believed to have ever left North Korea as supreme leader.

Davenport School District looks to fund security enhancements by dipping into state reserve funds

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- The Davenport School Board agreed with Superintendent Art Tate that dipping into emergency reserve funds is the only way to beef up security for schools in the district Monday, June 11.

The board approved Tate’s move to submit a letter to the Director of the Iowa Department of Education to request a meeting with the School Budget Review Committee to ask for permission to use reserve funds, money set aside to be used in case of an emergency.

Tate says it will take about $1.2 million to upgrade the district’s security.

If approved the money will go towards hiring a district Security and Student Outreach Specialist, two additional School Resource Officers, and adding 18 school security monitors.

“Every school in the district is vulnerable and I have to do something about it. I'm looking for additional personnel because that’s the important thing we need people to be in our schools to help students feel safe, to help parents feel safe,” says Superintendent Tate.

The District is already using reserve funds to offset education cost for students, which is something the State is against and may penalize Superintendent Tate for doing.

Tate plans to submit his request to the state this week, but he is not sure when he can expect a response. He says he hopes within the next few weeks.

Skier Bode Miller mourns young daughter’s death in pool accident: ‘We are beyond devastated’

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – The 19-month-old daughter of Olympic gold medalist skier Bode Miller died Sunday in a tragic pool accident, TMZ first reported.

Miller and his wife, professional beach volleyball player Morgan Beck Miller, were at a party at their neighbor’s house in Orange County, California when 19-month-old Emeline Grier Miller somehow fell into the pool, a source told the site.

Terribly sad news in the Olympic Movement today. #TeamUSA sends sincere condolences to @MillerBode and his family, along with wishes of strength and comfort.

— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) June 12, 2018

Paramedics responded to the gated community of Coto de Caza and performed CPR on Emeline, according to People. She was rushed to a hospital but doctors were unable to revive her.

The cause of death has not been officially determined.

Bode, 40, and Morgan, 31, both posted the following statement on their Instagram accounts Monday:

“We are beyond devastated. Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this. Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to its fullest everyday.”

Trump and Kim shake hands ahead of historic summit

Watch Video

(CNN) — US President Donald Trump shook the hand of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday morning local time, an extraordinary display of diplomacy that reflects an unprecedented gamble for two leaders intent on making their mark on history.

The men greeted each other with extended hands in front of a row of US and North Korean flags — a previously unthinkable sight that reflects a new chapter in the two countries’ acrimonious relationship.

Trump patted Kim on the back and later placed his hand on the North Korean’s shoulder as they walked into one-on-one talks.

“I feel really great. We’ll have a great discussion,” Trump said at the beginning of the meeting.

“This will be tremendously successful,” he continued. “We will have a terrific relationship”

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim alluded to the longstanding enmity between his country and the United States.

“There were a lot of obstacles on the way here,” he said, “but we overcame them all.”

Trump nodded in agreement.

The meeting comes only months after the two men traded nuclear taunts, ratcheting up tensions and leading to fears of war. Trump hopes the talks with the rogue kingdom’s despotic leader will amount to a historic breakthrough.

Whether nuclear disarmament is indeed the outcome of Tuesday’s summit won’t be known for years, if not decades. But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America’s longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump’s gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure.

Tweeting from his hotel room in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, Trump sought to heighten the suspense.

“Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly….but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!” he wrote.

After the men shook hands, they repaired inside for one-on-one talks. In that first meeting they were joined only by translators, a break from standard practice of having at least one aide present for high-stakes huddles.

Later in the day, advisers will enter the room for a larger bilateral session and a working lunch. The White House said Trump would be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who has lent his Korea expertise to the talks.

In the lead-up to the summit, US and North Korean officials were convening contentious final-hour negotiations in a Ritz Carlton hotel here in a bid to narrow gaps on key aspects of the meeting. In question is Pyongyang’s precise commitment to nuclear disarmament, and the security guarantees the US is willing to offer in return.

One US official said the two sides were working to craft a joint US-North Korea “statement of understanding” that could be released after the talks. The language in that document has been the fraught topic of discussion at the 11th-hour negotiations.

It’s not clear what the US side has been able to extract from the North Koreans in terms of their willingness to get rid of their nuclear weapons or allow inspectors into the country to catalogue the scale of their program.

That hasn’t stopped Trump from heightening anticipation for the summit, which he views as a landmark event that his predecessors could never have accomplished.

“I just think it’s going to work out very nicely,” he said during a lunch with Singapore’s prime minister on Monday.

Trump has taken keen interest in the pageantry of the day, insisting the pictures beamed around the world reflect a commanding leader making a decisive, world-altering move. At the same time, he’d admitted he doesn’t believe he requires extensive preparation to take stock of Kim.

Instead, he told reporters last weekend he would rely on “my touch, my feel” to assess the young and mercurial leader. He added he would know within minutes whether Kim was serious about negotiating away his nuclear weapons and has threatened to politely walk out if Kim doesn’t meet his expectations.

At one point, Trump suggested to reporters the talks could extend to a second or even a third day if they were going well. He was originally scheduled to leave on Wednesday. But on Monday evening, the White House announced Trump would depart for Washington by 8 p.m. Tuesday evening in Singapore, leaving little time for follow-up. Before he leaves he’ll sit for an interview with his friend, the Fox host Sean Hannity, and convene a media availability for other reporters.

A US official confirmed to CNN Trump’s departure was moved up by more than 12 hours because Kim set his own departure for shortly after the summit, as first reported by Bloomberg. The official cautioned, however, that the schedule could always change if meeting goes well and there is more to discuss. The meeting is intended to be “start of a relationship,” the official said, and there could be more to come between both sides if things go well.

In the same statement, the White House said the talks between US and North Korean officials were moving “more quickly than expected,” though didn’t elaborate on what precisely that meant for Trump’s stated goal of securing North Korea’s complete and verifiable denuclearization.

Tuesday’s meeting, convened at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa, comes just three months after Trump accepted North Korea’s invitation for talks on the spot. It was an extraordinarily compressed timeline for the landmark summit, one that left aides scrambling to initiate communication with the hermit nation.

The sides first spoke through intelligence channels, with US analysts working to determine Kim’s true willingness to abandon a nuclear program started by his grandfather and viewed by Pyongyang as a security blanket from outside aggressors.

Pompeo, who led the outreach as CIA director, traveled twice to North Korea for preliminary talks. His sessions with Kim amounted to the most robust contact ever between the United States and the North Korean leader, providing critical information about a man about whom little is known.

Talks proceeded at multiple levels, including logistical discussions to allay Kim’s fears of being deposed while traveling further afield than he ever has before as the country’s leader. The site of the historic talks was a matter of intense speculation before the US President announced on Twitter it would occur here in Singapore, the flashy Southeast Asian city-state that has eagerly accommodated the spectacle.

More than 2,500 journalists have convened here, with each leader’s every movement tracked carefully. Trump mostly remained inside his Shangri-la hotel on the day before the summit, emerging only to meet with his Singaporean counterpart at the presidential palace. Later in the day, he met with senior advisers and phoned the leaders of Japan and South Korea.

Kim, meanwhile, was spotted taking a moonlit stroll around the high-end Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, which is owned by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. Kim was cheered by onlookers who caught sight of the dictator, who until earlier this spring was not believed to have ever left North Korea as supreme leader.

Davenport Youth Community Action Summit meeting this Thursday

It’s not to late to register for the Davenport youth community action summit at the RiverCenter this Thursday, June 14th.

Click here to register for Davenport’s Youth Community Action Summit.

This meeting comes in the wake of an increase in car thefts and shootings, including one 16-year-old in broad daylight.

“Just last weekend, we arrested seven juveniles for car thefts, and more than 50 over the last year,” Police Chief Paul Sikorski said. “Yet we’re still reporting stolen cars on a daily basis, aren’t we?”

That’s because “arrests are reactionary, and (the community needs) to be proactive,” Sikorski said.

Jason Blair Roberts, one of the founders of “Boots on the Ground,” was also shot and killed this past weekend. The organization is devoted to curbing gun violence in the Quad Cities. His family says he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All of this will culminate in the summit meeting this Thursday.

According to the meeting description, “The Youth Community Action Summit is the first step in a longer process of conversations to tackle the issues our community faces.”

YOUR HEALTH Is sewage our next big medical hope?

SAN DIEGO, California – Two years ago, Steffanie Strathdee wasn't sure she'd get moments like this with her husband, Tom Patterson.   He got an antibiotic-resistant bacteria when they were on vacation.

"They saw that he had this giant abscess in his abdomen, like the size of a football, and inside was this murky brown fluid that looked like it had been there for a while," she remembered.

Doctors drained the abscess with catheters but one moved, sending more infected fluid into Tom's body.

"He slipped into a coma. We couldn't wake him from. and slowly, he started to die."

Steffanie reached out to Dr. Robert Schooley at UC San Diego Health to find bacteriophages, viruses found in bacteria that kill bacteria.

Dr. Schooley calls them "living antibiotics".

"With phage, they only kill a small sliver of the bacteria of the given type and what you have to do is you have to take the bacteria a patient has, their own organism and then screen for phage that are active against their organism," he explained.

Scientists at Texas A and M and the U.S. Navy found phages that could work.

"He received the first phages on a Monday, the second set of phages on a Wednesday, and he woke up on Saturday," recalled Steffanie.

PHAGES:   Phages try to kill bacteria, and unlike antibiotics, they grow in bacteria and multiply and then go kill the organism next door.  Bacteriophages attack only their host bacteria, not human cells, so they are potentially good candidates to treat bacterial diseases in humans.  After antibiotics were discovered, the phage approach was largely abandoned in many parts of the world.  However, phages continued to be used for medical purposes in several countries, including Russia, Georgia, and Poland, where they remain in use today.  There is increasing interest in bringing back the "phage approach" elsewhere, as antibiotic-resistant bacteria become more and more of a problem. (Source:  https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/biology-of-viruses/virus-biology/a/bacteriophages).

Tom had been in hospitals for nine months and in a coma for two. He'd lost 100 pounds.

"I couldn't walk," he said.   "I was in a wheelchair, and sitting up was beyond my ability for more than a moment."

Tom wants to be on the front line as phages are added to the fight against superbugs.

"I think it represents evidence-based hope."

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.

7-year-old who lost leg to infection dances again with new prosthetic

NORTHFIELD, Ohio – One year after an Ohio girl lost her leg to complications from strep throat and the flu,  she is back doing what she loves most – dancing.

Tessa Puma is back on stage, thanks to a new prosthetic leg, and her family is thanking the community for their support.

"I get to perform my dances," the 7-year-old said with a smile. "I love dancing so much because we get to wear these really cool costumes."

Friday marked her first big hometown performance. It was more than a recital of her hip-hop dance, it cemented a step in a new direction for a fighter who never stopped dancing in her spirit even in her darkest of days.

"There was a 20 percent chance she would live so you think there's an 80 percent chance she would die," remembered Matt Puma, Tessa's dad.

He said through all the heartbreak and pain, his daughter persevered, just like he always believed she would.

"We knew that Tessa, as long as she could pull through it, could accomplish anything," her father said.

As a crowd filled the auditorium at Nordonia High School Friday evening to witness The Center Stage Dance Studio competition, when Tessa took the stage, it seemed like it was meant for her all along.

 

Sunrise Golf Course in Bettendorf is the place to play for camaraderie

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Sunrise Golf Course in Bettendorf has a down-to-earth style of play that draws new golfers and keeps its members coming back all summer.

"It's a little 9-hole golf course right in the middle of Bettendorf," said Jim Schumacher, owner of Sunrise Golf Course. "We have beautiful mature trees, we've got beautiful sights. We can see the I-80 bridge that's about eight miles away. So we're sitting high."

The course used to be farmland until Schumacher turned the land into a golf course. There weren't a lot of tillable acres for farming - a golf course was a good way to keep the natural beauty of the land.

The signature hole at Sunrise is the 4th hole. It's a 340-yard uphill par-4.

The signature hole, with a hedged-out "Sunrise" at the tee box, is the 4th hole. It's a 340 yard par-4.

"It's built into the bank," said Schumacher, from the fairway of No. 4 with a hedged-out "Sunrise" behind him. "You almost have to put it between the uprights on this hole and you're home safe."

Jim Schumacher, owner of Sunrise Golf Course, says the course has a lot of love and camaraderie.Throughout the course, golfers will see a few statues of people cut out of old trees.

A statue of Jim Schumacher's father is carved into an old 100-year-old tree.

"There are old 100-year-old oak trees that were cut into statues of people that were here," said Schumacher, who is carved into one of the trees. His father is cut into another. "It means a lot to the camaraderie out here. There's a lot of love."

The WQAD Golf Deal at Sunrise Golf Course is 50% off an 18-hole round of golf including a cart, a $33 value for $16.50.

"To get people to come out here and witness what kind of place we have," said Schumacher.

Sunrise Golf Course is having a Father's Day Tournament.

To view all of the WQAD Golf Deals Click Here.

Quad Cities youth rowers set personal best medal count in national competition

(Video courtesy of Amy Johnson)

RANCHO CORDOVA, California - Results from the US Rowing Youth National Championship this past weekend reaffirmed that the Quad Cities is a force to be reckoned with in the world of competitive rowing.

The Y Quad Cities junior rowers took home four medals - three championship medals and a silver - which is one more than their previous record medal count, first achieved in 2014.

In the female's quadruple sculls, Caroline Sharis, Taylor English, Emma Mask and Delaney Evans took the team's fifth straight championship win. All the girls are recent graduates or current students at Pleasant Valley High School.

In rowing, there are sculling and sweep rowing. Sculling is where each athlete uses two oars. In sweep rowing, each teammate only has one.

Pleasant Valley junior Brenna Morley and Bettendorf senior Morgan Beghtol took the championship in the lightweight double sculls event, and Sharis and Evans also took first in the female's double race.

Pleasant Valley graduate Justin English and North Scott senior Zach Ramsey took second in the boys double event. This was the team's best boys result in over 10 years.

The girl's quad will compete for the Henley Royal Regatta, held in England from July 4-8.

 

 

Baseball sized hail hits Illinois City area

ILLINOIS CITY, Illinois-- Severe weather rolled through the area over the weekend. Storms were isolated, but a hail storm near Illinois City, Illinois caused some damage Friday.

The Rock Island Farm Bureau said hail damaged one farmer's three vehicles and crops.

Ag experts said hail damage can make crops more susceptible to disease, and that farmers will have to keep an eye out in the coming weeks.

Closer to Joslin, fields were flooded along I-88. Plants can drown from a lack of oxygen and running water can wash away nutrients.

Farmers will have to give their crops some time to recover to fully understand the damage.

"When you have storms come through like this, it's very emotional," said Mitch Heisler, marketing manager at Wyffels Hybrids. "You want to get out there and assess the crop. And it's certainly the right thing to do. Just be patient. Give that crop time to recover."

As storms moved in throughout the area, the severity varied.

"The wind especially is so localized," Heisler said. "You can have gusts that are very high in one area, and you go one or two miles down the road, and they didn't see the same thing. Same thing happens anytime you see hail. That's often very localized and only lasts a two or three-mile stretch when it does come."

Six new locations added to the summer meal program in Rock Island

Rock Island, Illinois-- The Rock Island-Milan School District is adding six new locations to its summer meal program.

The program started out at the high school but after the Quad Cities Area Children's food program shut down, they decided to pick up the slack.

"I think with school being out for the summer there’s a gap in the ability to help our families feed kids in the community. So we want to help do what we can to provide meals for those parents and families so that we don’t have issues with hunger over the summer months," said Jennifer McVay. McVay is the assistant director for nutrition services throughout the school district.

The new summer meal program locations in Rock Island are spread out within the district at elementary schools including Earl Hanson Elementary, Frances Willard Elementary, Longfellow Liberal Arts, and Rock Island Center for Math and Science.

"We are expecting at the elementary level and our high school program roughly four hundred and eighty meals," said McVay. This is during both breakfast and lunch times between the seven locations.

Breakfast will be available from 9 a.m to 9:30 a.m and lunch will be served from 12 p.m to 12:30 p.m.

The program is completely free for children under the age of eighteen.

Poll: Americans want more of what journalists want to report

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NEW YORK (AP) — There’s substantial agreement on what Americans want from the news media and what journalists want to report, according to a pair of studies that also reveal a troubling caveat: a nagging feeling among both the ideal isn’t being met.

Public suspicion about journalism is also fueled by some basic misunderstandings on how the process works, particularly in an era of rapid change, according to the twin surveys of the American public and journalists released Monday by the Media Insight Project. The effort is a collaboration between The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.

The close look at attitudes comes in the midst of President Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on the news media and the continued downsizing of the economically beleaguered newspaper industry. It has left journalists beaten down: The surveys found about 3 in 4 journalists believe the public’s level of trust in the news media has decreased in the past year. Yet only 44 percent of American adults actually say their level of trust has decreased.

The public actually wants what most journalists say they want to give them — news stories that are factual and offer context and analysis, said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. But the public doesn’t feel like they’re seeing enough of that work, with 42 percent of Americans saying journalists stray too far into commentary, according to the new research.

That’s one reason that Anna Retana, a mother of five from Enumclaw, Washington, said that she’s cut back on her news consumption.

“Most people who watch the news or read a newspaper, they’re wanting to find out the truth,” Retana said. “They don’t want to have tons of propaganda to sift through, and that’s what we see a lot of.”

Journalists can’t take for granted that the public knows what it’s getting, Rosenstiel said. Much of journalism’s shared language and structure is rooted in newspapers, yet many Americans get their news through social media streams, where it isn’t always clear from where stories come, Rosenstiel said. Newspapers have “op-ed” sections, yet half of the public doesn’t know what the term means.

That may contribute to the finding that most American adults aged 18 to 29 think the news is fairly inaccurate, while most above 30 felt it was fairly accurate.

There’s broad agreement that journalists need to do a better job of explaining their work. Sixty-eight percent of the public said the media should offer more information about its sources — and 66 percent of the journalists agree. Nearly half of the public said journalists should explain how their story was reported and 42 percent of the journalists said the same thing.

“You need to explain the mystery of how the meal was cooked,” Rosenstiel said. “We ought to take a cue from the way people go to the grocery store. Before they buy something, they need to learn what the ingredients are.”

The public and journalists answered similarly on what each thought the media should be doing, with one major exception. Only a little more than half of the people said the press should act as a watchdog to powerful people and institutions, while 93 percent of journalists view this as their role.

There’s some good news about journalism. When Americans are asked about their favorite news organization, a third of them say they trust it more than they did a year ago, while only about 1 in 10 say their level of trust has declined.

Lamar Walker, of Huntsville, Alabama, said he follows the news on his smartphone and smart TV and feels smarter for it. He thinks the news media is doing an “excellent” job.

“As long as they’re telling the truth, a lot of people are going to like the news,” Walker said.

The poll of 2,019 adults was conducted March 21 through April 17. It used a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all adults is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

The poll of 1,127 journalists was conducted March 1 through April 12 using a sample selected from a database of media contacts maintained by Cision Media Research. The margin of sampling error for all journalists is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The surveys were conducted with funding from the American Press Institute.

-CNN contributed to this story.

QC anti-gun violence group steps up action in wake of founder’s shooting death

ROCK ISLAND-- On Saturday there was supposed to be a meeting at this Rock Island church on 24th Street to discuss how to combat gun violence. Instead, the leader of the group got a call.

"I got a call from some friends and let me know about the situation that had happened with a family member of mine," says Elder Daniel Teague Junior.

46-year-old Jason Blair Roberts, a devoted Davenport father, had died.

Roberts was cousins with Elder Teague.

"That was a good man. He wouldn't hurt a fly. No one deserves to die in the streets like that," says Teague.

Jason Blair Roberts was shot in west Davenport off of 4th Street early Saturday morning, and family tells me he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It's tragic to think that people are out here just whatever. There's no boundaries anymore. They're just killing people," says Teague.

Jason's family says he was with friends the night he was killed. They say someone knows something, but no one is speaking up.

"My prayer right now is that loyalty he showed friends in life, that they show him in death and help bring closure to this situation we're in right now," says Teague.

Jason was one of the founders of the Quad Cities group 'Boots on the Ground' a grassroots effort to fight the very thing that killed him, gun violence, an issue that's become commonplace in the Quad Cities.

"The Quad Cities took a major hit. We lost somebody that was a solution to a lot of problems in our community," says Teague.

It's time to pick up where Boots on the Ground left off.

"Time out for talking. I'm not meeting with people, none of that. We're coming. We're going to start organizing. We're going to start going into neighborhoods. We're going to start building relationships, and we're going to start making changes," says Teague.

They're pushing forward, harder than ever, knowing all too well what could happen if they don't.

"It's time to take action. Let's get together. Let's organize. Let's take our streets back."

The church in Rock Island off of 24th Street is the 'Boots on the Ground' headquarters. The basement flooded this past weekend because of all the rain.

Police are still investigating what happened to Jason Blair Roberts.

They are asking for your help cracking the case. If you have any information contact the police department or crime stoppers.

Trump admin drops asylum protections for domestic violence victims

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(CNN) — The Trump administration Monday overturned asylum protections for domestic violence victims in a decision that could affect thousands of asylum seekers from Central America.

The move from Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifically addresses domestic violence victims from Central America and ruled that a 2014 Board of Immigration Appeals decision protecting such women was wrongly decided. But it will have broader implications for any victims of crime or violence in countries that can’t or won’t protect them — a rampant issue in Central America and beyond.

Sessions’ decision sets a high bar for victims of crime to qualify for asylum protections. Not only must the government of the home country be unable or unwilling to help the victims, Sessions ruled, but “the applicant must show that the government condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the victims.”

The ruling and announcement is the latest evidence of Sessions taking full advantage of his authority over the immigration courts — a separate court system designed by law to be under the auspices of the Justice Department. The attorney general functions as a one-person Supreme Court in the system, in addition to hiring and evaluating the lower court judges themselves.

At issue is a part of asylum law that protects members of a “particular social group” who are victims of persecution. Immigration courts had previously held that women in Central America who because of societal norms and other restraints couldn’t escape their abusive partners qualified.

But Sessions said that was no longer the case.

“Although there may be exceptional circumstances when victims of private criminal activity could meet these requirements, they must satisfy established standards when seeking asylum,” Sessions wrote.

“Such applicants must establish membership in a particular and socially distinct group that exists independently of the alleged underlying harm, demonstrate that their persecutors harmed them on account of their membership in that group rather than for personal reasons, and establish that the government protection from such harm in their home country is so lacking that their persecutors’ actions can be attributed to the government,” he wrote.

Speaking Monday morning an annual training conference for the nation’s hundreds of immigration judges, Sessions said his move “restores sound principles” of the law.

“Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems, even all serious problems, that people face every day all over the world,” Sessions said in a speech earlier Monday at an annual training conference for the nation’s hundreds of immigration judges. “I will be issuing a decision that restores sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law.”

Related: Judge in case Sessions picked for immigrant domestic violence asylum review issued ‘clearly erroneous’ decisions, says appellate court

Sessions received a warm welcome and reception from the judges present, who gave him multiple standing ovations at the beginning and end of his speech. But some leading immigration judges reacted unfavorably to the announcement.

President Emeritus of the National Association of Immigration Judges Judge Dana Leigh Marks told CNN it was “unsettling” that immigration judges are finding out about a precedential decision from Sessions at the same time as the public.

“While it’s not a surprise that a major decision is going to be announced today, it’s rather unsettling, because we feel like we’re the last to know,” Marks said. “And we need time to study and digest it.”

Pro-immigration advocates have criticized Sessions for taking the case and targeting protections for victims they say have already been settled as a matter of law.

Sessions also touted recent efforts he’s made to require judges to complete a certain number of cases per year, an effort that has been opposed by the immigration judges union who argue it trades due process rights for unreasonable expectations of completions that could encourage or force judges to issue more deportation orders.

He also repeatedly discussed what he considers abuse of the nation’s immigration laws, which the judges he spoke to are sworn to uphold. He referred to the 2016 election results as a bellwether for the judges.

“Let’s be clear: We have a goal. And that goal is to end the lawlessness that now exists in our immigration system,” Sessions said. “The American people have spoken. They have spoken in our laws and they have spoken in our elections. They want a safe, secure border and a lawful system of immigration that actually works and serves the national interest. Thank you for what you do, let’s deliver this for the American people.”

Marks and current National Immigration Judges Association President Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor criticized Sessions for touting the case completion targets in his speech, as well, with Tabaddor saying two-thirds of judges are not on track for the Department of Justice’s 700 cases per year target.

“We’re still in labor negotiations to discuss ways to achieve more numerical completions … we don’t agree that 700 is a realistically achievable number,” Marks added. “It’s frustrating while we’re in the midst of these negotiations to hear such a firm assertion from the attorney general. It’s as if our concerns are not going to be taken seriously.”

 

Trump-Kim summit: North Korean leader to talk denuclearization

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(CNN) — North Korea state media reported Monday that leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump will discuss denuclearization and establishing a “durable peace-keeping mechanism” on the Korean Peninsula during their historic summit on Tuesday.

Kim and Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday to allow time to prepare for their meeting, the first-ever between a sitting US President and North Korean leader and one that North Korea hopes will forge new relations between the two countries.

“Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. Security is tight throughout Singapore, with armed police roaming the streets and motorcades of the international delegations bringing traffic to a standstill.

Trump and Kim are staying less than a kilometer away from each other in five-star hotels, and will meet Tuesday at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island at 9 a.m. local time.

After the leaders shake hands for the first time on camera, they’ll begin the summit with a one-on-one meeting with only their translators, according to a senior Trump administration official.

“North Korea has previously confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize, and we are eager to see if those words prove sincere,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a news conference Monday.

“These discussions that will take place tomorrow between Chairman Kim and President Trump will set the framework for the hard work that will follow. And we’ll see how far we get, but I’m very optimistic,” Pompeo said.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Monday that Kim and Trump will discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and “building a permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism” during their meeting on the lush hotel grounds overlooking the Singapore Strait.

North Korea has previously said it was willing to discuss denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but experts worry about the different definitions of the term held by Washington and Pyongyang.

Consecutive US administrations have sought the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program, known among policy experts as CVID.

Pompeo reaffirmed that CVID is the ultimate goal of the Trump administration, and only then will sanctions relief begin.

“Sanctions will remain until North Korea completely and verifiably eliminates its mass-destruction programs. If diplomacy does not move in the right direction — and we are hopeful that it will continue to do so — those measures will increase,” Pompeo said.

Pyongyang’s definition of denuclearization is much more opaque, but is believed to be much broader in scope and possibly include things like US nuclear-capability assets in the region, Washington’s large troop presence on South Korea or its inclusion of Seoul in its “nuclear umbrella.”

KCNA also reported that the two sides would discuss laying the groundwork for a new relationship between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea has long sought to normalize its relationship with the United States and end what it calls the US “hostile policy” toward North Korea. Both Clinton– and Bush-era agreements called for the United States and North Korea to take steps to normalize relations with each other.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Pompeo said he believes that both the context surrounding tomorrow’s summit and what’s being offered to Kim are significantly different than in previous years.

“We’re prepared to take actions that will provide them sufficient certainty that denuclearization isn’t something that ends badly for them — indeed just the opposite, that it leads to a brighter, better future for the North Korean people,” Pompeo said, though he declined to get into specifics.

US negotiators led by Ambassador Sung Kim, who was recently tapped to handle North Korean affairs, met with their North Korean counterparts in Singapore Monday, after days of talks to hammer out details of the summit.

Pyongyang’s delegation included Choe Son Hui, a top diplomat at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry who made headlines last month when KCNA quoted her calling Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy.”

Choe and Kim’s teams met at a separate chic hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, in Singapore for more than 90 minutes Monday. The North Koreans were mobbed by reporters as they left.

Trump and some of his top aides met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for lunch Monday, during which the Singaporeans presented the US President with an early birthday cake — Trump turns 72 on June 14.

Trump thanked Lee for his “hospitality and professionalism and friendship.”

Lee told CNN that his country is paying some of North Korea’s bill, following reports of questions over who would pick up the tab.

Trump also spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the phone Monday. Moon has been a key player in the lead-up to the Singapore summit, meeting in person with both Kim and Trump last month.

On Monday evening, Kim went for a surprise tour of downtown Singapore, just hours before the landmark summit was due to get underway.

Flanked by his bodyguards, the North Korean leader joined Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan and education minister Ong Ye Kung at the Marina Bay Sands — a popular tourist hotspot — and even participated in a selfie to document the tour.

Front page news

Kim’s departure for Singapore made front-page news in North Korea, where the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried images of a ceremony for Kim as he boarded the Air China plane Sunday local time.

On state-run KCTV, famed North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee informed the nation that Kim had arrived, declaring that Kim was “very happy” to be visiting Singapore, and that he thanked the “outstanding and beautiful nation” for its hospitality.

In Singapore, residents lined the streets as Kim’s motorcade passed soon after his arrival. Journalists in the city to cover the talks and pedestrians alike stood outside the St. Regis Hotel, where Kim is believed to be staying, trying to catch a glimpse of the leader.

Soon after touching down in the city, Kim met Singapore’s Prime Minister, who has spent $15 million (20 million Singapore dollars) to host the summit.

The two were photographed smiling, shaking hands and sitting down together, with Kim appearing at ease playing the role of global statesman on his furthest journey away from Pyongyang since taking power in 2011.

Lee described Kim as a “confident young leader” and said that “he wants to go onto a new path” when speaking to CNN.

“What he is prepared to deal and how an agreement can be worked out, well, that’s a complicated matter. But I think he has an intention to do something, and that’s why he’s meeting Donald Trump,” Lee said.

Social media altering street-gang culture, fueling violence

CHICAGO (AP) — Lamanta Reese lived much of his gang life in virtual reality, posting videos on YouTube of him and others taunting rivals. He died at age 19 in the real world, bleeding from his head onto a porch on Chicago’s South Side after one of those gang rivals, prosecutors say, shot him 11 times. Another possible factor in his slaying: A smiley-face emoji Reese posted that the suspected gunman may have interpreted as a slight about his mom.

Gangs’ embrace of social media to goad foes or conceal drug dealing in emoji-laden text is the biggest change in how gangs operate compared with 10 years ago, according to new law enforcement data provided exclusively to The Associated Press ahead of its release Tuesday by the Chicago Crime Commission. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites have radically altered gang culture in Chicago. They are having a similar influence on gangs nationwide.

These days, there is nearly always a link between an outbreak of gang violence and something online, said Rodney Phillips, a gang-conflict mediator working in the low-income Englewood neighborhood where Reese lived and died. When he learns simmering tensions have spilled into violence, he no longer goes first to the streets.

“I Google it,” Phillips said. “I look on YouTube and Facebook. Today, that’s how you follow the trail of a conflict.”

Asked what led to his son’s death, Reese’s father, William Reese, answered promptly: “Something on the internet.” He said his son and Quinton “ManMan” Gates, later charged with first-degree murder in the killing, had been trading barbs on Facebook.

Updated gang maps also being released in a Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book chart the turf of 59 gangs, from Reese’s Black Disciples to the lesser-known Krazy Get Down Boys. They illustrate how gangs have splintered into smaller, less disciplined factions quicker to resort to violence. The last Gang Book — used as a guide by regional police — was published in 2012.

Gangs put a premium on retaliation for perceived disrespect. In the past, insults rarely spread beyond the block. Now, they’re broadcast via social media to thousands in an instant.

“If you’re disrespected on that level, you feel you have to act,” said Phillips, employed with Target Area, a nonprofit group that seeks to defuse gang conflicts.

Reese, whose nickname was Taedoe, was prolific on Twitter, posting 28,000 tweets under the handle @taedoeDaShoota. He displayed bravado but was also introspective, tweeting about his odds of dying a violent death. One of his last tweets read: “Death Gotta Be Easy Because Life is Hard.” It included a sad-face emoji.

Police say there was a gang connection to most of the 650 homicides in Chicago recorded in 2017 — more than in Los Angeles and New York City combined. Homicides so far in 2018 are down around 20 percent. Police partly credit better intelligence and the deployment of officers to neighborhoods on the anniversaries of gang killings.

So integral is social media to gang dynamics that when Englewood-area pastor Corey Brooks brokered a truce between factions of the Black Disciples and Gangster Disciples in 2016, he insisted they agree to refrain from posting taunts. The gang truce lasted longer than most — 18 months.

Some gangs provoke enemy gangs by streaming live video showing them walking through rival turf. Others face off using a split-screen function on Facebook Live and hurl abuse at each other.

Chicago gangs maximize attention with videos of themselves performing an aggressive hip-hop called drill rap. Reese was among his gang’s rappers. In a video posted before he died, he and his gang brandish guns, flash gang signs and curse, singing, “They want war? We’re gonna give ’em war.”

The Black Disciples’ historic enemies include the Gangster Disciples and Micky Cobras. But authorities say 19-year-old Gates was a fellow Black Disciple but from a different faction. Gates’ Mac Block is across Halsted Street from Reese’s faction, called LoweLife. Each controls four square blocks.

The Chicago Crime Commission materials list more than 2,000 gang factions. Successful prosecutions in the 1990s of gang bosses, who kept street soldiers in check, left power vacuums filled by small cliques led by younger people eager to break away.

Another Target Area mediator, Michael Nash, who speaks regularly with the Mac and LoweLife factions, said Reese and Gates were once friends. He said both were likable.

William Reese says his son always urged his gang not to resort violence. He said his son acted lovingly toward his siblings. And, he added, “He had a beautiful smile.”

It’s not entirely clear why there was a falling out, Nash said. But Gates felt disrespected by one Reese posting on Facebook before the shooting. Another person made an off-color comment about Gates’ mother. Reese’s response? A smiley-face emoji.

“Without social media, maybe Taedoe goes, ‘Ha, ha,’ and that’s as far as it goes,” Phillips said. “With social media, everyone sees it. Social media is gasoline that fuels violence.”

Authorities say that as Reese sat on a porch with his cousins at dusk in May 2017, Gates crept up, cursed LoweLife and fired, hitting Reese’s in the head, abdomen and groin. One cousin cradled Reese as he died. Messages for Gates’ lawyer weren’t returned.

Now social media helps keep memories of Reese alive. A memorial Facebook page for him includes an edited photo of Reese with angels’ wings. His dad posted a message with 14 crying-face emojis, adding: “I miss my son.”

Here’s some good news if you’re looking for a job

It's never been a better time to be on the job hunt.

For the first time in recorded history, there are more job openings than people who are looking for work.

On Monday, June 11, Investment Advisor and Financial Expert Mark Grywacheski joined us live on Good Morning Quad Cities for our weekly "Your Money" segment. He says the U.S. labor market is "simply phenomenal" right now - averaging 207,000 new jobs a month.

"In May, the unemployment rate fell from 3.9% to 3.8%, which should further decline to a 50-year low of just 3.6%," he explained. "But [last] Tuesday, we hit a historic milestone. For the first time in recorded history, the number of job openings in the US now exceeds the
number of Americans who are unemployed."

However, Grywacheski said ongoing trade disputes could start to impact jobs in the manufacturing and construction industries. To see that part of our conversation, click here.

“We’re stuck:” Illinois residents’ underwater homes keeping them here

HUNTLEY, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — Steinar Andersen is a disabled veteran, widower and father of a disabled stepson who is ready to move out of Illinois.

But he can’t. Employed as a information technology manager, he and his wife bought an old farmhouse near Huntley in 2005. After the housing bubble burst and the state widened a nearby road, he’s deeply underwater on his loan.

“I still owe $187,000 in principle,” said Anderson, 55, now fully disabled from a service-related injury. “Once I get to $90,000 in principle in about 10 years, I’ll be able to sell at a $130,000 loss.”

Andersen would like to move out of state.

“We really should be living in Arizona as it is more ‘disability friendly’ and the property taxes are much less,” he said.

Andersen isn’t alone.

Collen Percy and her recently retired husband are $85,000 underwater on their suburban Plainfield home. They’re worried about property taxes eroding their home’s value further, pushing a potential payoff of their home further into their twilight years.

“We’re stuck,” she said. “We would love to sell [our home] and go live in a smaller home so we don’t have the upkeep and tax burden.”

It’s no secret that a large number of Illinoisans want to become ex-Illinoisans. A poll conducted by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale showed that every other person they asked about running for the border would if given the opportunity. Their reasons were common gripes for residents here; taxes, weather, lack of jobs or education elsewhere.

Two new reports on home equity reveal that a number of Illinoisans, like Anderson and Percy, may be chained to to the state by a mortgage larger than their home is worth.

A study of negative equity by real estate site Zillow found 16.4 percent of Illinois homeowners with a mortgage owed that is more than their home was valued as of the end of 2017.

“There are several metro’s throughout Illinois that are even higher,” Zillow economist Sarah Mikhitarian said.

Centralia, Dixon and Canton are the highest, with nearly two of every five mortgages underwater. Chicago, Illinois’ economic engine and home to the state’s highest wages, saw 15 percent of mortgages carrying negative equity, representing $28 billion in lost home value.

CoreLogic’s data from the first quarter of 2018 showed nine percent of mortgages in Illinois are underwater. Nationally, only Louisiana (10.3 percent) had a higher percentage of underwater mortgages.

Having an underwater home mortgage can create serious hurdles.

“It makes it difficult to move for a new job opportunity to relocate elsewhere,” Mikhitarian said.

The state’s income growth since the recession has run congruent to Mikhitarian’s notion. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Illinois has seen 0.6 percent income growth since 2007, less than half the national average and only better than Connecticut.

High property taxes can push the value of homes further into the depths, experts say.

CoreLogic’s data from the first quarter of 2018 showed nine percent of mortgages in Illinois are underwater. Nationally, only Louisiana (10.3 percent) had a higher percentage of underwater mortgages.

Having an underwater home mortgage can create serious hurdles.

“It makes it difficult to move for a new job opportunity to relocate elsewhere,” Mikhitarian said.

The state’s income growth since the recession has run congruent to Mikhitarian’s notion. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Illinois has seen 0.6 percent income growth since 2007, less than half the national average and only better than Connecticut.

High property taxes can push the value of homes further into the depths, experts say.

“There is nothing left in this state to want to remain living here,” Andersen said.

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