It’s so cold in parts of Siberia that eyelashes are freezing

(CNN) -- Temperatures in parts of the Siberian region of Yakutia have dropped to minus 67 degrees Celsius (minus 88 degrees Fahrenheit), prompting even eyelashes to freeze.

Residents of the remote region, about 3,300 miles east of Moscow, are certainly accustomed to record-cold weather.

Anastasia Gruzdeva posted this selfie, taken on Sunday in the city of Yakutsk. In her caption she said: "You all know that we have -50 degrees here, right? And yes, we still get out of the house...it's kind of hot actually."

Another Yakutsk resident Vladimir Danilovs posted video from an outdoor fish market in the city as temperature dipped to minus 49 degrees Celsius. It shows baskets and shelves packed with frozen fish.

In another video, a cyclist is captured braving the cold on a ride through the snow and ice. Oleg, who posted the video on Instagram, said: "On Yakutsk roads. minus 48 degrees Celsius."

But few places are colder than the town of Oymyakon, where the temperature reached minus 67 degrees Celsius, according to state news agency TASS.

Located some 620 miles from Yakutsk, the settlement of 500 people is widely regarded as one of the coldest inhabited towns in the world. In February, 1933, the town recorded a temperature of minus 67.7 degrees Celsius.

So far this year, the residents of Oymyakon have endured eight consecutive mornings with lows of minus 50 degrees Celsius or colder. Last Sunday, temperature dipped to minus 59.6 degrees Celsius, enough to cause frostbite in under five minutes to any areas of exposed skin.

Classes for high school students were suspended only when the thermometer hit the minus 56 degrees Celsius mark, according to local media outlet Yakut Media and state news agency RIA Novosti.

However, the freezing conditions did not stop three tourists from taking a dip in a river in Oymyakon last week. Video posted to Instagram shows the tourists paddling and sitting in the water as onlookers watched on.

The cold weather is expected to continue later this week, according to a warning issued by Siberia's Ministry of Emergency Situations.

"The Siberian regions are experiencing a cold snap with a strong wind and snowstorms, and a significant temperature drop is expected for the greater part of the Siberian Federal District in the coming days. In most places it will reach minus 40 degrees Celsius, cold will last for several days," the statement read.

The Ministry has also asked citizens not to use personal cars and avoid long walks and trips.

Child Abuse Council speaks out about sex-abuse victims facing abuser Larry Nassar

MOLINE, Illinois-- Kyle Stephens says she was six when Larry Nassar began sexually abusing her. When she was twelve, she told her parents, and they confronted him.

Stephens is the first of many survivors to confront her abuser. Nassar was a trusted doctor who treated athletes for injuries. In court this week, it wasn't the first time Stephens shared details of her abuse.

"Due to complex details I won't get into here, my parents chose to believe Larry Nassar over me," says Stephens.

Angie Kendall from Moline's Child Abuse Council understands those complex details.

"More than 90-percent of abuse happens at the hands of someone the family knows, loves and trusts," says Kendall.

It's called grooming.

"Being that person who seems too good to be true, inserting themselves into the family unit. You can trust me," says Kendall.

Once the abuser earns that trust, the abuse starts like in Stephen's case and many others.

"It is a misnomer that people think children falsely report or tell false stories. That's absolutely untrue. We have to believe children," says Kendall.

Other survivors will testify over the next few days.

"I am no longer broken by you. Everyday I grow a new strength and look into the mirror and see a strong unbreakable person," says Jade Capua.

More than 140 female athletes, including several Olympic gold medalists, have accused Nassar of sexual abuse. He's plead guilty to ten counts of sexual abuse with cases going back as far as 1998 including girls under the age of 13. He's already serving 60 years for child pornography charges.

"I honor them for that strength and bravery and really hope people can see this story and listen to the children in their lives so our young children today don't have to be the brave women telling the story tomorrow," says Kendall.

Testimonies are expected to go on until Friday.


2 Illinois governor candidates spend $26M in last 3 months

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The race for Illinois governor cost more than $28 million just in the last three months of 2017 for the Nov. 2018 election.

Campaign finance disclosures filed this week show $9 of every $10 was spent by just two candidates — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the leading Democratic challenger, Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker.

That’s nearly as much as the $30 million spent in the first nine months of 2017 in a race that could easily surpass the $112 million spent in the Prairie State four years ago and could approach the national record.

Rauner, whose first term has been marked by a record-long budget stalemate with the Democratic-controlled Legislature that ended last summer, drew right-wing ire last fall when he signed a law providing state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.

Rauner reported raising $2.9 million in the last quarter of 2017. His campaign spent $12.8 million and had a whopping $55.6 million in the bank.

Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt hotel franchise and among the world’s wealthiest people, reported raising $21 million and spending $13.3 million, with nearly $8 million on hand.

The 2014 race in which Rauner beat incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn cost $112 million. The national record was set in the 2010 California contest, in which the price tag for ex-Gov. Jerry Brown to reclaim the post over businesswoman Meg Whitman was $280 million.

Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican who didn’t join the gubernatorial race until Nov. 15, reported raising $434,000, spending $39,000 and with cash to start, had $662,000 in the bank.

Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat whose campaign has decried big-money self-funders such as Pritzker, raised $1.1 million and ended 2017 with $3.1 million. Another wealthy businessman, Chris Kennedy, raised $1 million and had $737,000 on hand.

Educator Bob Daiber of Marine, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman of Calumet City, and physician Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge are also seeking the Democratic nomination.

On a smaller scale, the race for attorney general to fill the seat being vacated by Democrat Lisa Madigan is heating up.

Eight candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, including former Gov. Quinn, and they’re putting up money to get it. Each of the Democrats, individually, has more on hand than the combined total for the GOP candidates, Erika Harold and Gary Grasso.

Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago leads the pack, raising $782,000, spending $109,000 and finishing the quarter with just under $1.1 million. Highwood Democratic Rep. Scott Drury collected $506,000 and finished with $732,000.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering drew $631,000 and had $574,000 on hand; assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Fairley took in $495,000 and had $388,000 in the bank, and lawyer and educational administrator Jesse Ruiz raised $549,000 and closed the period with $355,000.

Quinn started the period with $232,000, but raised only $79,000 in the last three months, leaving $279,000 on hand. Lawyers Aaron Goldstein and Renato Mariotti are also running.

On the GOP side, Harold, a lawyer and former Miss America, had $162,000 on hand after raising $135,000. Grasso, a DuPage County Board member, filed disclosure papers for attorney general last week.

2018 JEFFERSON AWARDS: Nominee Fulfills Special Promise With “The Pickard Project”

Josh Evans and Heath Pickard were friends by chance, family by choice… and so were their wives.

“We all considered each other brothers and sisters,” explained Monica Evans, Josh’s wife. “We celebrated holidays together, birthdays…”

“When you’re in that situation, you need a family. You need something there and your family can’t always be there.”

Specialists Evans and Pickard also trained, deployed, and served together… but only one of them came home. Specialist Pickard was killed in action in Iraq on October 16, 2008.

“I remember getting a phone call,” Monica recalled. “It was 3:00 in the morning and [Josh] was talking to me and I could barely understand what he was saying because he was getting ready to go into surgery. He had already had one surgery and it was a mess and then he’s like – somebody didn’t make it. I can’t tell you who, but somebody didn’t make it and I knew. So, the first thing I did was I called his wife and she was just crying and I didn’t know how to help her, how to be the person she needed me to be so I did what I knew how to do and I told her I loved her and that her husband had died a hero and that everything was going to be okay because I was there. I was going to make sure I was there.”

It’s been nearly a decade and a lot has changed, except that promise. In 2015, Monica started The Pickard Project, which is a local organization that helps military members and veterans when other organizations can’t.

Monica’s team puts together blessing bags for our area’s homeless veterans, care packages for our men and women serving overseas, and fulfills their own missions for those in dire need:

“Our longest one so far was 13 weeks and it was to save two veterans from losing and being evicted from their homes,” Monica said. “We were able to keep them in their homes and that day, when I handed over the final check, I felt this feeling of relief that finally one of them or two of them or anyone I talked to or anyone I can help – they got what they needed, because they chose to trust and with PTSD and veterans – a lot of them have trouble trusting.”

Monica knows because her husband has PTSD – and so does she.

“I’m not a doctor, but I deal with this mental illness,” she said. “I deal with a couple others and I allow wives, children, and the vets themselves to call me. I’ve probably spoken in the last two years to 1,500 veterans or active military families.”

“I’ve actually gotten texts back weeks later just saying if it wasn’t for that call, I don’t know where I’d be and I save those messages, because those are what keep me going when my PTSD says I can’t do it.”

Monica has also been able to raise hundreds of dollars through fundraisers. She even puts her own money in so that every donation – and more – goes directly to helping our heroes.

“When people ask me that question of what percentage goes to the organization it`s 110%,” she said. “I’m not doing anything that everyone else should be doing.”

Monica’s best friend and Vice President, Tiffany Neels, says Monica’s want to serve comes from pure passion.

“She puts everybody before herself and just nothing is too small, too big for her,” she said. “She just saddles down and decides how she`s going to do it and she does it.”

For Monica, it’s the least she can do when she knows others have made the ultimate sacrifice.

She knows it’s what Heath would do, too.

“It`s something I think he would be proud of and it honors him and it shows this was the type of person he was,” she explained. “He helped anybody.”

In honor of him, we honor Monica Evans and The Pickard Project as a 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominee.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation celebrates public service and the people in our communities who are changing lives. Every Wednesday in January and February, WQAD News 8 is introducing you to our 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominees. In March, we will announce our area’s Finalist. That person gets to attend the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer and meet other Finalists from across the country.

To see who was nominated in our previous three seasons of the Jefferson Awards, click here.

Ford just had its worst day in a year and a half

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(CNN Money) — Ford isn’t happy with its performance. Investors aren’t, either.

The stock fell almost 7% on Wednesday after the company issued a disappointing profit forecast. Ford warned that it expects a $1.6 billion hit from the rising cost of steel, aluminum and other metals and from volatile currency rates.

In North America, Ford is moving away from less profitable lines of passenger cars and doubling down on popular trucks, vans and SUVs, said James D. Farley, the company’s president of global markets. But it will be at least two years before the company’s turnaround plans take full effect.

“We are not satisfied with our performance,” Robert Shanks, the chief financial officer, told the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference.

It was the worst day for Ford stock since July 2016.

Related: Customers sue Ford over alleged emissions cheating

Adam Jonas, an analyst who covers autos for Morgan Stanley, praised Ford for the disclosure but said it was too short on details.

“The message we are left with is akin to ‘we’re working on some big projects and the numbers are significant … but please be patient while we put the pieces together,'” he wrote in a note.

General Motors, on the other hand, “demonstrates a more ‘air tight’ message,” he said.

GM said on Tuesday that it expects strong earnings this year. CEO Mary Barra said the company is becoming more “focused, resilient and profitable,” and expects an even better year in 2019.

Ultimately, Jonas warned against buying Ford stock. “We see scope for Ford’s narrative to change,” Jonas said, “but not yet.”

Related: Ford ramping up new tech, but carefully

Ford has promised to modernize its operation, but slowly.

The company is working on electric cars, but it expects internal combustion engines to share the market with hybrid and electric cars until at least 2030.

Last year, Ford said it plans to cut $14 billion in costs. Over the next five years, Ford will reduce its spending on materials by $10 billion and engineering costs by $4 billion. It will also reduce by 25% the time it takes to get new cars and trucks from the idea stage to vehicles in dealerships.

Chicken nugget taste tester wanted: UK retailer looks to fill dream job

MERSEYSIDE, England – An English company is looking for a chicken nugget taste tester. B&M is launching a new selection of fresh and frozen food in stores – and they’re offering one lucky person a temporary position to taste test the new products.

This is a selection from the job posting:

Do you think you have relevant experience? – experience can include, but is not limited to:

  • Getting the 20 share box of nuggets from McDonald’s and keeping them all for yourself
  • Being the first in the office kitchen whenever someone says there’s cake
  • That time you tripped and fell at a buffet and saved the plate before yourself
  • Going to an event or party because there is free food
  • You value the importance of a fish finger sandwich in life
  • You can conduct a power point presentation on the reasoning behind curly fries being nicer than chips
  • The successful individual will receive £25 vouchers monthly to spend on fresh and frozen food in their local B&M store and can share their feedback with the B&M buying to help evolve the range.

The company goes on:

“Just like a good steak, this opportunity is rare and shouldn’t be diced with. If you think this is your calling please upload a paragraph on why you think you deserve the opportunity and what relevant experiences you have.”

If you think you have what it takes and don’t mind relocating, you can apply here.

Meet the meatless burger that bleeds and sizzles

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK) — It’s called the veggie burger that bleeds and sizzles just like real meat. If you’re a vegetarian or a meat-lover, get ready for the “Impossible Burger.”

Once we found out about it, we had to sink our teeth into all the juicy details.

First, we had to track down the burger.

One of the first places in the Valley to carry the Impossible Burger is right off the light rail, on Central Avenue and Adams Street.

The Counter, which is known for its custom burgers, is where we taste tested this plant-based protein. It was newly added to its menu just last month.

“Sales were slow to start,” says General Manager Sean Silverman. “But then we started getting call after call and it started taking over chicken sales as our second number one selling protein.”

So, what’s all the buzz about? There’s a strange science behind this burger made entirely of plants.

According to the California-based company’s website, Impossible Foods, it has dedicated five years to studying the taste in burgers we crave so much and where that flavor comes from.

In several online interviews, Impossible Foods explains that it comes from a substance in meat called “heme.”

Their scientists isolated heme in soy plants and then engineered it in high quantities through yeast in wheat.

Combined with all-natural ingredients, such as potatoes and coconut oil … voila, you get the Impossible Burger!

The burger has the consistency of red meat.

“It’s a burger that looks like beef, cooks like beef, tastes like beef, but completely made from plants,” says Silverman.

Several folks we met at The Counter who ordered the Impossible Burger told us the burger “formerly known as plants” surpassed their expectations.

“It’s got a meaty flavor and it’s got all the consistency I would expect with a beef burger but totally vegan, it was awesome,” says Joe DeRomanis.

“If you hadn’t told me that it wasn’t beef, I think I would assume that it was,” Emily Goret tells us.

We had to give it a taste test ourselves and we agree. It doesn’t quite have that taste of beef you might be used to, but as far as veggie burgers go, it is the best vegan burger we’ve ever had.

But, for the company, it’s more than just giving burger connoisseurs a meatless option. This meat has a mission to be good for people and the planet. Impossible Foods states that “relying on cows to make meat is land-hungry, water-thirsty, and pollution-heavy.”

Now, the company has released a vegan cheese and it’s taking its products to universities, company cafes and school cafeterias.


Top amateurs cue-up in Davenport for 8-Ball Championships

DAVENPORT , Iowa --The RiverCenter looks more like a giant pool hall these days.  That's where some of the best amateur players from far-and-wide come to play and win prize money.

Dee Strack came all the way from Florida to show her skill and strategy.

"It's one game that your competitor has a lot to do with the shot that you're going to take," she said, on Wednesday, January 17.

She's making the trek with her husband, Milt, to play in the Omega Billiards 2018 ACS Midwest 8-Ball Championships.

"It's kind of like chess on a table with cue sticks and balls," she continued.

Some 800 players like Dee will be taking their best shots at more than $40,000 at the RiverCenter.

"It's definitely a sport," said John Lewis, executive director of American Cue Sports.  "There's a lot of hand-eye coordination that goes into pocket billiards."

There's free admission through Sunday, January 21, at the River Center.

"The more that you know about the game probably the more you can really respect the good players and the shots they take," Dee said.

Dee Strack, who is getting to play with friends from Illinois, is sharing a strategy right on cue.

"Never give up, and play as smart as you can," she said.

Lots of life lessons from behind the 8-Ball.

"It's just fun to compete against good players and watch good players," she concluded.



Woman sentenced to 40 years in prison following death of Rock Island teen

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A 23-year-old woman has been sentenced to serve 40 years in prison in connection with the 2016 death of a Rock Island teenager.

Chelsea Raker was initially charged with two counts of murder in connection with the death of 15-year-old Jescie Armstrong who was shot and killed in his Rock Island home.  Raker, who was 21 at the time, was one of three people charged.

The murder charges were dropped in a plea deal back in October and Raker pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of armed robbery.

On Wednesday, January 17th, Raker was sentenced to 40 years with credit for time served.  She was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release once she gets out of prison.

Newborn baby abandoned on changing table at Arizona airport

TUCSON, Ariz. - A newborn baby boy was left at a changing table at an Arizona airport, and authorities are now looking through security footage to try and find who left the child, according to WPIX.

A Tucson International Airport employee found the infant on Sunday evening in a women’s restroom outside of the security checkpoint.

The child was found clean and wrapped. The airport’s fire and police departments aided the infant and said he appeared to be healthy. He is now at a local hospital.

In 2001, Arizona passed a Safe Haven Law that identifies locations such as hospitals and fire stations that a parent can anonymously leave a newborn and not face any criminal charges - but an airport bathroom is not one of those places.

The Tucson International Airport has a firehouse on the property. If the mother or whoever abandoned the infant left the child with a firefighter on duty, they would have been protected.

Authorities are focused on finding the child’s mother.


Snow sends motorists skidding in the South

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(CNN) — A winter storm was dumping snow Wednesday from the Florida Panhandle to Maine as it left bone-chilling and icy conditions in the states behind it, sent drivers sliding off roads in parts of the South and East, and forced thousands of airline customers to scramble.

More than 1,200 US flights have been canceled and many others delayed Wednesday, with airports in Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans and Boston tallying the most cancellations, flight tracking site Flightaware.com says.

In Houston, ice that the storm left on roads a day earlier reverberated Wednesday, with drivers on US 59/Interstate 69 turning around and intentionally heading the wrong way to exit off entrance ramps to avoid icy patches and backups.

The below-freezing temperatures were deadly; one homeless person died from hypothermia, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said Tuesday.

Officials across the South urged people to stay off the roads as videos emerged of motorists in several cities sliding off ice-coated lanes.

Nearly 600 crashes have been reported in Harris County since Tuesday morning, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

“Even if you think you want to go out … to go to the grocery store, the truth is they haven’t been able to be resupplied. So, just wait,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said Wednesday morning.

Track the weather here

The sheriff’s office in neighboring Fort Bend County was more blunt on Twitter: “Houston is still closed, Fort Bend. Go back to bed.”

Snowfall on Wednesday is expected to be the heaviest in North Carolina — Raleigh could get up to 6 inches — and in New England, where Boston also could see around 6 inches.

“As you go into the afternoon, evening hours, the system is pushing off the Eastern Seaboard,” CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

But even where accumulation is lighter, it could lead to slippery travel given the recent stretch of low temperatures, the National Weather Service said on Twitter.

Cars slide off roads

As it moved across the South, the storm system created difficult driving conditions Wednesday.

In Atlanta, schools and numerous businesses closed as 2 inches of snow and icy or otherwise slippery roads led to dozens of crashes by morning, CNN affiliate WSB reported.

More 90 crashes were reported Wednesday morning in Atlanta, police there said, as were more than 170 in suburban Gwinnett County, just to the northeast.

Video from CNN affiliate WGCL showed vehicles stopped on icy Atlanta streets Wednesday morning, including a city transit bus that apparently couldn’t go any further on a slick stretch.

Just west of Atlanta, motorists were cautiously navigating one paved lane of the multilane Interstate 20 Wednesday morning, according to video that motorist Kristopher Mathews posted to Instagram.

“Everything was a sheet of ice, and the skinny lane plowed in the middle of I-20 … was minimally helpful,” Mathews wrote.

Parts of highways were closed Wednesday in Louisiana, including a 45-mile stretch of Interstate 49 northwest of Baton Rouge because of icing, state police said.

In Metairie, east of New Orleans, Paul Herring found ice coating the sidewalk outside his home Wednesday morning — so he put on a pair of ice skates, and his wife took a video of him gliding along the path.

“(I haven’t) regularly skated since I played peewee hockey, but I still had the skates in the attic and I couldn’t resist the temptation,” he told CNN.

Dangerous wind chills

In Tennessee, which had the coldest pockets in the South, wind chills made the air feel as low as 10 below zero Wednesday morning. More than 45 million people are under wind chill advisories or warnings in the United States.

Forecasters said chilly air would hang around from the South to the Northeast, leaving icy roads and hazardous conditions through Thursday.

The governors of Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina have declared a state of emergency for at least portions of their states.

Classes were canceled Wednesday at a number of universities in the South, including Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University.

Snow melting weather ahead… Late weekend rainfall still on track

Full sun and light winds made it seem a bit more tolerable out there today as temperatures climb just over the 20 degree mark.  With a return flow out of the south tonight’s temperatures will only drop in the mid teens.  That’s seasonal!

It will be more than just seasonal in the days ahead as another round of thaw weather is still set to begin as early as tomorrow.  Highs on Thursday will climb around the mid 30s before warmer 40s become more common for the upcoming weekend.  Still might reach 50 degrees in some spots south come Sunday.

This transition will take our bright skies during the work week and make them cloudy during the weekend.  Rain is still expected with these clouds but not until we get to late Saturday night into Sunday.   Still believe amounts may reach around a half an inch in spots.

As the system departs, colder air will filter in by Sunday night into Monday taking any leftover rain and changing it to some light snow. Little/no accumulation is expected.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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YOUR HEALTH: A stem cell treatment could help stroke victims recover quicker

PORTLAND, Oregon – Sharon Thomas is back at work like nothing was ever wrong.  But four years ago she had a stroke.

"At that time, I couldn't read, write, swallow or speak."

Nearly 800,000 people have strokes every year in America.   The best treatment is called tPA but it has to be given within three hours and doctors say only 5% of patients can make it that long.

She was helicoptered to the hospital and into the care of Dr. Wayne Clark.  He asked if she wanted to be part of a trial for a stem cell treatment that might help her recover.

"What this does, the stem cells are from very, very young cells, and they bathe the brain in this environment that makes it act like it's young again," explained Dr. Clark, director of the Oregon Stroke Center.

The stem cells also turn off the inflammatory response sent by the spleen to the brain.  The bone marrow-derived stem cells come from a donor and are multiplied in a lab.

"It can be easily stored in a refrigerator, and mixed up quickly, and given IV," said Dr. Clark.  "So no specialized facilities will have to be and a 36 hour window, so it could really allow a lot of patients to potentially benefit."

Sharon made a significant recovery, like 70% of patients in the multi-stem trial.  She credits it with giving her an edge.

"Every day it got better, and my mantra was, 'every day is a good day', because I'm still here, I'm still improving."

And she hopes more stroke patients have access to multi-stem.

Dr. Clark says the treatment has no negative side effects but might not be appropriate for cancer patients because it could make cancer cells grow faster.

A phase three trial involving about 300 patients across the country could begin in the first half of 2018 at locations to be announced.

TREATMENT:  To best determine the most appropriate treatment for a stroke, emergency teams need to evaluate the type of stroke a person is having and the areas of the brain affected by the stroke.  They also need to rule out other possible causes, such as a brain tumor or a drug reaction.  Several tests may be used to determine risk of stroke, including physical examination and/or blood tests, computerized tomography or CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, carotid ultrasound, cerebral angiogram, or an echocardiogram.  To treat an ischemic stroke, doctors must quickly restore blood flow to the brain.  Emergency treatment with medications such as aspirin or intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator or TPA may be given.  Emergency procedures may involve medications to the brain, or mechanical clot removal.   (Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/diagnosis-treatment/drc-2035011)

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.

This is the cognitive test the president passed

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Before President Donald Trump’s physical examination on Friday, Dr. Ronny Jackson had decided he wasn’t going to perform a cognitive assessment. Jackson said he didn’t feel the test was necessary. But the president requested he be tested, anyway.

“He actively asked me to include that in it so we did,” Jackson said Tuesday while speaking to reporters about the results of the president’s physical.

Trump has faced several questions about his mental fitness to be president. Last week a group of mental health professionals sent an urgent public letter to the president’s doctor requesting he test Trump’s cognitive abilities.

At the White House press conference, Jackson said he decided to run what’s called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, known as MoCA. It is a well-known and well-tested assessment that doctors can quickly use to detect “mild cognitive dysfunction,” according to the test instructions. “It does rule out the need to do any other cognitive assessment,” Jackson said.

The 30-point test takes about 10 minutes and asks the patient to perform a simple batch of memory and mental tasks. The tasks include drawing a line between a number and a letter in ascending order. To test visuoconstructional skills. The patient is asked to draw a clock and put numbers on it, and to draw a cube.

The patient is tested on naming and is asked to give the name of animals drawn on a test page.

In addition, there is a memory test involves the doctor reading a list of five words at a rate of one per second and the patient is asked to remember as many words as they can in any order. The doctor and patient repeat the word test one more time. The doctor will then let the patient know that they will be asked about the words again at the end of the exam.

Next, the exam looks at a person’s ability to pay attention. The doctor will say some numbers and the patient is supposed to repeat them in the order that they hear them. The doctor will then ask the patient to repeat another set of numbers backward. The examiner then will read a list of letters and every time they say the letter A, the patient will tap once. Patients’ math skills get a work out, as they are asked to count by subtracting seven from 100 and keep subtracting seven until the doctor tells them to stop.

Sentence repetition is the next skill tested. The examiner will read a sentence and the patient is supposed to repeat it. Verbal fluency gets tested as well. A doctor asks the patient to say as many words that begin with a single letter given by the doctor.

Abstract thought is then tested by the doctor, who will ask to explain what a certain pair of words have in common. For example, a patient may be asked what a banana and an orange have in common.

Finally, delayed recall is tested and the doctor will circle back to the list of words they told the patient in the memory test and the patient is asked to remember as many words as possible.

A score of 26 is considered normal. The president did better than that. He aced it and got 30 out of 30.

“The president is mentally very sharp, very intact,” Jackson said. “He is fit for duty.”

Asked at the White House briefing if any additional cognitive tests should be performed on the president, Jackson said he didn’t think so. He thought this particular screening tool was “great” and “I wouldn’t recommended doing anything beyond that,” Jackson said.

As far as he knows, Jackson said this is the first time a doctor has performed a cognitive assessment on a president. It has never been done on any other president he has tended to over the years, Jackson said.

“He has gone above and beyond what I would consider a requirement to demonstrate his cognitive abilities,” Jackson said.

Wave of lawsuits filed to block net-neutrality repeal

NEW YORK (AP) — The attorneys general of both Iowa and Illinois are among a group of 20 AGs across the country suing to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net-neutrality rules.

The AGs were joined in their suit by industry leader Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, public-interest group Free Press and New America’s Open Technology Institute. Others may file suit as well, and a major tech-industry lobbying group has said it will support litigation.

The rules barred companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s push to undo them inspired both street and online protests in defense of the Obama-era rules.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said the repeal will be particularly bad for rural users, like many in Iowa.

“Many consumers may have only a single internet service provider at best and the FCC’s repeal means that provider now gets to pick winners and losers by choosing what content you can load fast, slow, or not at all,” Miller said. “I’m concerned that this could widen our existing urban-rural digital divide.”

Miller added that consumers and businesses alike “should expect no less than equal access to internet content,”

Across the river, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued that the rollback will result in consumers losing internet freedom to visit and obtain content from any site of their choice without interference.

“Asking consumers to trust that their internet service provider will faithfully provide service without interference is going too far,” Madigan said. “If the FCC votes to scrap net neutrality, it will fundamentally change the internet we all know. It may no longer hold true that every user has undisrupted access to any site at any time.”

FCC spokesman Brian Hart declined to comment on the litigation.

The lawsuits are part of a multi-pronged approach against the net-neutrality repeal. There are efforts by Democrats to undo the repeal in Congress. State lawmakers have also introduced bills to protect net neutrality in their own states. However, the FCC’s order bars state laws from contradicting the federal government’s approach. The FCC’s new rules are not expected to go into effect until later this spring.


Apart from New York, the other attorneys general participating in the lawsuit are from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

The New York attorney general says the FCC made “arbitrary and capricious” changes to existing policies and was unjustified in departing from the FCC’s long-standing policy of defending net neutrality.

The legal challenge could face an uphill battle, however. Antitrust attorney David Balto says the courts have generally shown deference to agencies to set regulations as long as they provide adequate explanations. A court would likely judge that the FCC has the authority to class the internet as an “information service” and invalidate the prior rules, just as the Obama-era FCC had the authority to label internet service a telecommunications utility and regulate it more heavily.

The parties may have to file suit again after the FCC’s order is published in the Federal Register. That hasn’t happened yet. The different suits may also be consolidated.


Democrats in the Senate will force a vote on a simple repeal of the FCC’s repeal, using the same law, the Congressional Review Act, that Congress used to undo the Obama-era internet privacy rules . The vote probably won’t happen for a few months.

Democrats need a least two Republican votes to pass a repeal in the Senate. Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins has already said she’ll support it. But the resolution would probably run into difficulties in the House, where Republicans have a much bigger majority. And President Donald Trump seems likely to veto it. The White House has said it supports the FCC’s efforts to roll back regulations.

However, if net neutrality does become a campaign issue with young voters in the 2018 elections, as some Democrats hope, they could use Republicans’ “no” votes on restoring net neutrality rules to their advantage.


The FCC order bars states and cities from imposing rules on broadband providers that contradict the FCC’s plan. Lawmakers in a number of states are pursuing net-neutrality bills anyway.

In New York, a bill would bar the state from contracting with broadband companies that don’t follow net-neutrality principles.

In California, one bill would forbid companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, limiting or interfering with customers’ internet service. Another is similar in its approach to the New York bill, predicating state contracts and local cable franchises to companies following net-neutrality policies.

State lawmakers have also introduced bills in Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state bills. A New Mexico state senator has said he will propose legislation.


Moliners invited to open house to discuss plans for I-74 corridor

MOLINE, Illinois -- City leaders are looking for input on how to develop parts of downtown once the old I-74 Bridge is out.

As a way to get Moliners to share their ideas, the city and two development groups planned to hold an open house Wednesday, January 17th at Stoney Creek Inn to discuss plans for the I-74 corridor.

The meet-up will give community members and business and property owners the chance to look at which spaces will be available and give input on how they would like to see the space used.

The open house will be held at 5:30 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.  Stoney Creek is located at 101 18th Street in Moline.

Hundreds of animals seized from eastern Iowa home

VINTON, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have seized hundreds of animals from an eastern Iowa residence that's also home to four children.

Officials executed a search warrant around 9:10 a.m. Tuesday at the Vinton house and garage. The animals found included rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, turtles, birds, guinea pigs, gerbils and a hall python. Several carcasses were scattered through the residence in various states of decomposition or stored in a freezer.

No charges have been reported. Officials say the children's parents have been cooperating with state and local authorities.

Volunteers from the Cedar Valley Humane Society and other rescue groups removed animals all day. Many of the animals were malnourished, dehydrated and living in overcrowded areas contaminated with fecal matter.

Ex-doctor’s victims recount sex abuse they experienced as young gymnasts

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — One after one, gymnasts and other victims of a disgraced former sports doctor stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma he inflicted on them as children, including one who warned that girls eventually “grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

Nearly 100 victims are expected to address the court during the four-day sentencing hearing for 54-year-old Larry Nassar. Many cried as they told their stories on the hearing’s first day, and some requested anonymity. Others unleashed.

“I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar and those ‘treatments’ were pathetically veiled sexual abuse,” victim Kyle Stephens said to Nassar, who often bowed his head and closed his eyes or looked away as she and others spoke.

Stephens, the first victim to speak, said Nassar repeatedly abused her from age 6 until age 12 during family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing. She said he rubbed his genitals on her and digitally penetrated her, among other abuse.

She said Nassar denied it, and her parents initially believed him. Stephens said she largely blamed her father’s suicide on the shame and self-loathing he felt for defending Nassar.

“Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens said. “They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

The judge consoled the 29 women and girls who spoke or had their statements read on Tuesday, saying they should not blame themselves. More victims will speak on Wednesday.

Nassar has pleaded guilty to molesting females with his hands at his Michigan State University office, his home and a Lansing-area gymnastics club, often while their parents were in the room. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Another statement came from Donna Markham, who told of how her 23-year-old daughter Chelsey killed herself in 2009, years after Nassar sexually abused her during a medical examination.

“It all started with him,” she said, describing her daughter’s downward spiral into drug abuse.

Victims described experiencing “searing pain” during the assaults and having feelings of shame and embarrassment. They said it had changed their life trajectories — affecting relationships, causing them to be distrustful and leading to depression, suicidal thoughts, and anger and anxiety about whether they should have spoken up sooner.

“He touched the most innocent places on my body,” said 17-year-old Jessica Thomashaw, recounting how she was sexually assaulted at ages 9 and 12. “I couldn’t be just a normal girl anymore, and I forever lost a big piece of my childhood due to his abuse.”

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who is expected to order a sentence on Friday, said the system had failed them.

“You shouldn’t be angry with yourself,” she told a 31-year-old victim, who said she was assaulted almost 20 years ago. “You went to him for pain and healing, and you didn’t know. No one faults you or any other victim for that. You were a child.”

Prosecutors are seeking at least 40 years in prison for Nassar, who has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman have said they, too, were victims. Raisman tweeted Monday that she would not attend the sentencing “because it is too traumatic for me. My impact letter will be read in court in front of Nassar. I support the brave survivors. We are all in this together.”

Nassar admitted in November that he digitally penetrated 10 girls, mostly under the guise of treatment, between 1998 and 2015. As part of plea deals in two adjacent Michigan counties, he said his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls’ consent.

The criminal cases followed reports last year in The Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving him and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse.

Melissa Imrie told the judge she was assaulted in 1997, when she was 12, after breaking her tailbone. She described years of severe depression, sleeplessness and other issues.

“Everybody’s story that I listened to today is just an echo of everything that I’ve went through. They’re just speaking like it’s my voice,” Imrie said.

She said she wants young athletes “to be safe from sexual predators, from this kind of abuse.”

Fire breaks out at Bettendorf home

BETTENDORF, Iowa -- A fire reportedly broke out at a house in a southwest Bettendorf neighborhood.

The fire was reported in the 1500 block of Lincoln Road around 7:45 a.m., Wednesday, January 17th.

Multiple fire crews worked together to put out the flames, focusing on the garage, where the fire is believed to have started.

Neighbors at the scene said a veteran lives in the house by himself.   A spokesperson from the Bettendorf Police Department said he was the only person inside the home at the time and that he made it out safely.

"I saw the flames and didn't realize it was Max's house until I went down there," said a neighbor. "I was just happy that he's okay. I can't wait to just see him, you know?"

The Red Cross is assisting the man who lives in that home.

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