ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker made a visit to the Quad Cities, just one month after the election.
Dozens of people packed into the Rock Island County Democratic Headquarters downtown Rock Island to offer Pritzker congratulations on Monday, December 10. He was there to say “thank you.”
Both Pritzker and his Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton spoke about their future plans for Illinois.
Prtizker said he wants to focus on increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would take effect incrementally.
On the topic of bringing a passenger railway to the Quad Cities, Pritzker said that “transportation infrastructure is vitally important to the state.” He said his administration planned to get a bill passed early on in his first term.
When asked if it could become a reality in his first term, he was unsure on a timeline.
“I’m not sure how long it will take to build so I can’t tell you that for sure but I know we’re going to get infrastructure bill introduced and passed early in our term,” he said.
Pritzker also made stops in Springfield, Rockford and Galesburg that same day.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa- A Council Bluffs man received a nine-year sentence after an FBI investigation revealed he received child pornography from the Dark Web.
December 6, Beau Croghan, 36, was sentenced to 110 months behind bars and 10 years of supervised release.
According to the DOJ, 12 men and women found Croghan guilty of receipt of child pornography on August 22, 2018.
An FBI investigation codenamed Operation Pacifier looked into “Playpen”. Playpen is a Dark Web site hosted on the popular TOR (The Onion Router) browser which is used for accessing encrypted web pages.
The DOJ says Playpen is “a message-board type website where registered users would distribute and share images and videos of child pornography.”
They say Croghan registered with Playpen on September 27, 2014, and logged over 13 hours on the site between September 27, 2014, and March 4, 2015.
FULTON COUNTY, Illinois- A semi driver was Life Flighted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria after police say he was distracted by his cell phone.
Jamie L. Hayes, 42, of Cuba, IL was driving eastbound on Illinois Route 116 near the intersection of Highway 39 in Fulton County.
Police say he was distracted by his cell phone, crossed the westbound lane and hit the ditch. The 2011 Freightliner Truck rolled over onto its passenger side in a field.
Hayes was then transported by Air Evac Life Flight to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. No word yet on his condition.
Police decided to charge Hayes with:
- Distracted driving
- Improper lane usage
- Failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident
“Assistance was provided by the following agencies: Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, Farmington Police Department, Farmington Fire & Rescue, Fulton County Ambulance, IDOT and Air Evac Life Flight.”
EAST MOLINE-- Glenview Middle School hosted annual 'gBay' shopping auction.
Think of it as the school's version of 'eBay'. Over 1,000 students are allowed to come and bid on items that have been donated. This year, students had over 400 gifts to bid on. The price for each item starts at 25 cents, but organizer Gaye Dunn says items can go for a couple dollars.
"I think they have a great time doing it," Dunn said.
The annual school auction allows students to build money management skills as well as find affordable gifts in time for the holiday season. All the money raised from the shopping auction will go to the school's Builder's Club, an extracurricular social service group sponsored by Kiwanis. This year, Dunn and the club will donate the auction money to Glenview families in need.
"We're able to give families $20 gift cards, Dunn said. "For items like food or Christmas gifts."
Students have two days to bid on the items.
"If I bid on something now then Other people are going to want to bid on it," student Kohen Landry said. "I'm waiting on the cheapest price."
Counselor Dunn will then announce the winner of each item and get them to the new owner.
This will be Dunn's last year to host 'gBay', but she still plans to participate.
"I'll probably be donating items to get rid of," Dunn said.
Update: Traffic was moving smoothly again before 4:30 p.m.
Original: MOLINE, Illinois — A stalled car on the Interstate 74 Bridge is slowing Iowa-bound traffic.
The car was stalled in the right lane on the bridge, forcing traffic down to one lane to get around it.
Traffic was backed up to the 5th Avenue area, moving but at a slow pace. Illinois-bound traffic was unaffected.
MARION COUNTY, Iowa- After a weekend hunting trip turned deadly, the Iowa DNR is asking hunters to prioritize safety, and follow some safety tips.
According to the Iowa DNR, Sunday, December 9, Blake E. Schroder, 23, of Leighton, Iowa, was out with a large hunting party.
They say around 4:30 p.m. conservation officers found Schroder dead after being struck by a bullet, that they believe was from Schroders own hunting party.
An autopsy is pending on Schroder at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny.
In the meantime, The Iowa DNR has released these hunter safety tips:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Know your intended target and its surroundings
- Do not touch the trigger of the gun until you’re ready to shoot
WHEATON, Illinois (AP) — A woman who authorities say secretly forged more than $400,000 in checks to her own business has been arrested.
Roxana Dusanek, 56, of Crest Hill, created a stamp with the signature of her boss at a suburban Chicago dental office, authorities said. She then applied that stamp to the checks as a way to forge her boss’s signature.
The Pioneer Press reports that Dusanek is charged with criminal counts of theft and forgery. She was booked into the DuPage County Jail.
The county’s state’s attorney’s office alleges that Dusanek made out the checks between February 2014 and June 2017 while she worked at the Hinsdale dental office as a bookkeeper before other employees uncovered the scheme.
Dusanek remained in jail on Sunday after a judge set her bond at $300,000. It was not immediately clear if she has retained an attorney.
(CNN) — The current guidelines for genetic testing of breast cancer patients limit the number of women who can get tested. Because of these restrictions, these tests miss as many patients with hereditary cancers as they find, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“Unfortunately, insurance companies pay attention to these guidelines,” said Dr. Peter Beitsch, co-author of the study and a cancer surgeon practicing in Texas. Insurance companies and other payers reimburse genetic testing — or not — based on the guidelines.
The result: Patients without genetic test results might not receive the appropriate treatment for their cancer, which could be a matter of life or death.
Approximately 330,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States and of these cases, an estimated 10% are likely due to hereditary causes, according to Beitsch.
The guidelines are two decades old
The guidelines for the genetic testing of breast cancer patients were established about 20 years ago by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a nonprofit alliance of 28 cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care, explained Beitsch, who is a co-founder of the TME Breast Care Network, a nonprofit focused exclusively on advancing treatment for breast cancer patients.
“Back then we tested for two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA 2,” said Beitsch. BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are tumor suppressor genes that everyone has; if a defect or mutation occurs in one or both of these genes, the likelihood of breast cancer is increased. “Genetic testing was incredibly difficult to do and expensive; it cost about $5,000 to just test the two genes,” he explained. The guidelines, then, “originated really as an economic roadblock to try to decrease the overall cost of health care in America,” he said.
Since then it has become known that 11 “major” gene mutations, including BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, can cause breast cancer, while 25 or 30 other genetic variants are also linked to the disease, said Beitsch.
Meanwhile, genetic testing “radically changed. It went from a difficult-to-do, and expensive, test to a quite inexpensive test,” said Beitsch. “The cost dropped from, say, $5,000 for two genes to now we’re doing 80 genes for about $250.”
While the guidelines also evolved, they “got incredibly complicated,” he said: “unusable.”
So Beitsch and his colleagues set up a study to look at nearly a thousand female breast cancer patients, half who met the criteria set forth in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, the other half who did not. Among 959 study participants, all underwent a full panel of DNA testing for hereditary breast cancer.
The results showed that 83 women or 8.65% of the total participants, had breast cancer-linked genetic defects. Of these, 45 women met the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s criteria for testing, while 38 women did not. Ordinarily, then, these 38 women would not have been tested.
Genetic testing may be a matter of life or death
Many women who have breast cancer do not meet the criteria under the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, said Beitsch, and this affects their treatment and, potentially, their survival.
Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor in the department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, explained that when a patient with a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation is diagnosed, “We treat them differently from a person with no known mutation.” For example, surgical decisions and the use of chemotherapy might be based on whether a woman has a genetic mutation.
“Over the past 20 years we are learning of a number of genes that can have a mutation. Some change our treatment,” said Brawley, who was not involved in the new study.
Genetic testing, then, is not only important to a patient’s survival, Beitsch said, “but also for her family members as well.” Carrying the same genetic mutation, a female relative may be at increased risk for breast cancer, while male relatives may be at increased risk for prostate and other cancers.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, interim chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said that “it’s a misconception that men cannot be impacted by BRCA genes and it’s a misconception that they cannot pass them onto their children.”
“There’s no question we don’t test the people we know should be tested,” including some patients with a “family history that has cancer written all over it. Unfortunately, too many professionals don’t pay attention,” said Lichtenfeld, who did not contribute to the new research. One study, for example, suggests that fewer than one in five people who meet National Cancer Comprehensive Network criteria and have a history of breast cancer have actually undergone genetic testing.
“Then there’s the group of people without a family history who want to get tested,” he said.
Will we all be routinely tested in the future?
A 2016 survey suggests that more than half — 56% — of American adults would be interested in taking a genetic test that indicated the likelihood of their developing cancer. The 30 to 64 age group had the highest proportion of willing people: 63% said they’d take a cancer predicting genetic test.
Despite public interest and increasing knowledge of potential causes of cancer, insurance plans do not routinely cover the expense of medical genetic testing, said Lichtenfeld. And barriers exist even for those who most need to know the results of such tests, such as some women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, he said: “Once [a woman] is diagnosed, unless she has a family history, a lot of payers, including Medicare, will not pay for the test.”
Some patients pay for the testing on their own, but this is not possible for all patients. And some patients may be unaware of the need for medical genetic tests because the guidelines do not recommend they get it.
Since genetic tests are now relatively inexpensive, the reason for creating an “economic roadblock” no longer exists, Beitsch said, and so the guidelines should “be wiped.”
“The guidelines really don’t help — in fact, they hurt, they injure, they keep people who could benefit from genetic testing from getting it,” said Beitsch, who hopes the National Comprehensive Cancer Network will recognize his study “and take heed of it and hopefully change the guidelines.”
Lichtenfeld said cancer centers “are finding many more people who have a hereditary basis for their cancer than would have been suspected based on our previous knowledge.” Since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, scientists have become increasingly adept at reading the mysterious code and what “we don’t understand today, we will understand tomorrow or next year or in the next decade,” said Lichtenfeld. He believes that soon, genetic testing will be routine for newborns.
Based on his new research, Beitsch cherishes a more modest hope that at the very least all breast cancer patients will be offered and reimbursed for genetic testing, and perhaps, the same for all cancer patients.
“We’re heading toward a time when all people are tested,” he said. “Mary-Claire King, who discovered the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, has called for that.”
MOLINE, Illinois -- The Moline-Coal Valley School District Board of Education announced the names of the three candidates that will advance to the final selection round for the district's superintendent position.
The board narrowed the search down out of a pool of seven candidates, according to a press release from Kate Shaefer, president of the board.
Shaefer said the board will conduct a second interview with each finalist the week of Dec. 10 and go through an "extensive vetting process." The position will be offered by Jan. 14, 2019, and the successful candidate will start next school year.
The position opened after current Superintendent Lanty McGuire announced his retirement in September, 2018. He is finishing out the school year.
Here are the names of the candidates:
- Dr. Kelley Anne Gallt, Chief Academic Officer, St. Charles Community Unit School District
#303, St. Charles, IL
- Dr. Brian Prybil, George Washington Elementary Principal, Moline-Coal Valley District
#40, Moline, IL
- Dr. Rachel Savage, Head Principal, Waterloo Community School District, Waterloo, IA
ROCK ISLAND-- On Monday students and staff at Augustana College celebrated a milestone in the future of science education. Construction crews placed the beam that will be the highest point of the addition, but if you look closely, raised with the beam was an evergreen tree.
It was a ceremonial step, construction crews raised the Augie blue colored beam that marks the highest point of the new 22,000 square foot expansion of the Hanson Hall of Science. The space will be used for additional classrooms, labs, and study space for students.
The beam was painted blue, and hundreds of students and community members signed it to represent unity and truly being a part of change.
Raised with the beam was an evergreen tree. Onlookers might have assumed it was decorations for the holidays, but it's actually a construction tradition dating back to 700 A.D from Scandinavia. The tree is known as the topping tree. It celebrates the completion of the skeleton of a building. The tree is typically attached to the top beam as it's hoisted up in the air, a signal the building has reached its final height.
For some builders, the evergreen symbolizes good luck and prosperity for the future occupants of the building and building process.
DAVENPORT-- Saint Ambrose University is in the middle of the process to expand one of their campus halls, McMullen Hall.
According to Davenport officials, the school wants to build a 19,000 square foot addition onto the building on the corner of Locust Street and Gaines Street. They say the expansion is an attempt to consolidate the business school.
The school needs to get approval from Davenport's Planning and Zoning Commission because of the size of the addition. In two weeks, the commission will make a recommendation to Davenport's City Council.
Today is National Lager Day. We know that means we should raise a glass to beer, but that doesn't mean we know what's exactly in the glass.
What's the difference between a lager and other beer?
All beer falls into two main categories: ales and lagers. These two categories are separated by two factors:
- Type of yeast - This is a microscopic fungus that turns sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol in a process called attenuation. Different types of yeast will also determine amount of alcohol produced, flavor profiles and the range of ways to manipulate the beer.
- Temperature of fermentation - This controls how fast the fermentation process happens.
Ales use Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, or "top fermenting" yeast. The yeast has a stronger resilience, so it can produce higher alcohol content. It's also brewed faster and at warmer temperatures.
This means the beers have wilder, fruitier and hoppier flavors because they are less refined. Ales can produce a wide range of beers and tend to be heavier in nature.
Lagers use Saccharomyces uvarum yeast, or "bottom fermenting" yeast. This yeast is more fragile, producing less alcohol. It also doesn't protect itself against the cold as well, which means it works at cooler temperatures. The cold slows the brewing time, making for a longer process.
Lagers tend to be crisp and less fruity in aroma. These beers are all about smooth, refined drinkability that contrasts with its more raucous cousin.
In reality, it just depends on your taste. Do you like vast arrays of flavor with lots of different variability, or would you rather sip a smooth one with your pinky finger in the air?
Either way, cheers!
(CNN) — Former FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting on Friday that he didn’t believe firing Robert Mueller alone would derail the investigations that have been launched since he was appointed special counsel last year.
Asked by Democrats what would happen if Mueller were fired, Comey said he didn’t know the effect, but predicted it wouldn’t stop the underlying investigations, according to a transcript of the interview released by lawmakers on Saturday.
“You’d almost have to fire everyone in the FBI and the Justice Department to derail the relevant investigations,” Comey said.
Comey also defended Mueller, who was appointed following Comey’s firing as FBI director in May of last year, although the former FBI chief said that he and the special counsel were not “best friends” as President Donald Trump has claimed.
Comey testified for more than six hours behind closed doors on Friday before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees under an agreement that led to the release of the transcript Saturday.
Lawmakers and Comey said that the interview was tense and that Republicans were frustrated by instructions from a FBI attorney telling Comey not to answer certain questions about the Russia investigation. Comey and House Democrats said the interview was a waste of time, consumed with questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Comey was interviewed as part of the Republican-led investigation into FBI’s investigations into Clinton and Trump and Russia in 2016. Republicans are preparing a report detailing their findings before Democrats take control of the House in January.
The questions from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers ran the gamut, focusing on everything from Comey’s announcement on the reopening of the Clinton email investigation just days before the 2016 election to his thoughts on Trump’s pick for attorney general, and to whether any pictures existed of him hugging and kissing Mueller — as Trump once claimed in an interview with The Daily Caller.
“Are you best friends with Robert Mueller?” Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, asked Comey.
“I am not. I admire the heck out of the man, but I don’t know his phone number, I’ve never been to his house, I don’t know his children’s names,” Comey said. “I think I had a meal once alone with him in a restaurant. I like him. I am not a — I’m an associate of his who admires him greatly. We’re not friends in any social sense.”
Comey also said Mueller will conduct his investigation “the right way.”
“There are not many things I would bet my life on. I would bet my life that Bob Mueller will do things the right way, the way we would all want, whether we’re Republicans or Democrats, the way Americans should want,” Comey said.
Tidbits on the Russia probe
Much of the interview covered territory Comey has previously discussed either in past congressional testimony, his memoir, or news interviews over the past year. The interview did not contain any major revelations, but there were interesting tidbits shedding light on the tumultuous period of the FBI and Department of Justice that stretches back to the 2016 campaign.
Comey told lawmakers that the FBI launched its Russia counterintelligence investigation into four individuals, and not the Trump campaign itself.
“The Trump campaign was not under investigation,” he said in response to a Democratic question asserting that it was. “The FBI, in late July, opened counterintelligence investigations of four Americans to see if they were working in any way with the Russians to influence our elections,” Comey said.
There are certain clues about what Comey couldn’t discuss, too. The FBI lawyer, for instance, said Comey could not answer a question about the sources used by Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, arguing that the sources for the document are still relevant to the special counsel investigation.
There was plenty of debate over the dossier, which Republicans have argued was misused by the FBI to obtain a foreign surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
But Comey defended the application for the surveillance warrant, which he signed off on before it was obtained in October 2016.
Comey argued that the FBI didn’t need to explicitly tell the court Steele’s research was paid for by the Clinton campaign, only that it was politically motivated.
“The particulars of which Democrats, which Republicans, I wouldn’t think would be important to the court,” Comey said. “They’d want to be aware of the general bias, and that’s my reaction.”
Republicans focused on whether the dossier was verified before the Page warrant was obtained.
Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, for instance, quoted former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s testimony that the FBI “could provide no points of verification to verify the Steele information other than the fact that Carter Page had traveled to Russia in July of 2016.”
But Comey said “an effort was underway to try to replicate, either rule in or rule out, as much of that collection of reports that’s commonly now called the Steele dossier as possible.”
Comey talks obstruction
While Comey’s testimony did not shed new light on his views about whether the President obstructed justice in firing him, testimony from another former official showed those at the highest levels of the FBI were seriously concerned.
Comey was confronted with the October 2018 transcript of former FBI general counsel James Baker — which has not been made public — who described the “horrible atmosphere” that was filled with “shock” after Comey was fired in May 2017. Baker told lawmakers he believed that the President had fired Comey because Trump was trying to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into the Russia matter, and that belief was shared by McCabe.
“The President was trying to put his finger on the scale,” Baker testified — something Comey told lawmakers on Friday he “potentially” agreed with, but would need to understand more about the President’s intent before reaching a conclusion.
CNN reported this week on the circumstances that prompted McCabe to open an obstruction investigation in the wake of Comey’s firing even before Mueller was appointed less than two weeks later.
Comey reiterated his prior testimony that he viewed the President asking him to let go of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn as a direction to “drop” the investigation. But an obstruction of justice probe was not opened while Comey was still at the FBI, he said.
When asked how he felt seeing Flynn plead guilty, Comey said he felt, “as a citizen, glad that (Flynn) was held accountable for his crimes and that he was assisting the United States. So it seemed to me like a just outcome.”
Comey was also asked to weigh in on William Barr, Trump’s pick to be his next attorney general, and said he thinks “very highly of him.” Comey went on to explain that he used to work for Barr, who previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, and “probably know(s) him better than I know Bob Mueller,” joking that “I probably just damned him by saying he’s a friend of mine, but I respect him. … I think he’s certainly fit to be attorney general.”
No fireworks in testimony
There did not appear from the transcript to be any major blowups during the interview, which was starkly different from the raucous environment at the public hearing held for former FBI agent Peter Strzok, a key figure in the Clinton and Russia probes who faced criticism for sending anti-Trump text messages.
Comey said he didn’t recall the answers to many of the questions, particularly when it came to details from the Clinton investigation that occurred back in 2015 and 2016.
He did face some sharp questioning at times about his decisions as FBI director.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan pressed Comey about not telling then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his meeting with Trump in which the President said to let Flynn matter go because Comey had thought Sessions was about to recuse himself.
“Why would you make that assumption?” the Ohio lawmaker asked him. “He had not recused himself. If this is something important enough for you to memorialize, talk to your top people, why not then share it with the top law enforcement official in the government?”
Comey argued it was the right move.
“Because we believed — it turns out correctly — that he was about to step out of any involvement, anything related to Russia,” he said.
The transcript was released as part of a compromise struck by Comey and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, who had initially subpoenaed Comey to appear behind closed doors.
Comey fought the subpoena in court, saying he would only testify if the proceedings were held in public. But he later backed down, agreeing to appear behind closed doors on the conditions that the transcript would be released as soon as possible and he would be free to speak about the interview afterward.
Comey’s testimony before the committee is not finished. He has agreed to return later this month for a second round of questioning in which the committees will conduct the interview behind closed doors but then release a transcript afterward.
A staff member at the Lee County Juvenile Detention Center was injured during a reported riot and three teenagers being held there were charged in connection.
Three teenagers, ages 14, 15 and 16, were arrested after the incident happened Thursday morning, December 6 around 9 a.m., according to a report by KBUR. They were all facing charges in connection with the riot.
All three were charged with participating in a riot, read the report. In addition, the 15-year-old was also charged with second-degree criminal mischief and assault on a correctional staff and the 16-year-old was also charged with with assault with injury to a law enforcement officer.
The three teens were reportedly held at the detention center awaiting a court appearance.
The injured staff member was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, reported KBUR.
ROCK ISLAND –
After an exhausting weekend of moving, the new Rock Island County Justice Center annex opened for business on Monday, December 10.
The $28-million project features three stories of new courtrooms, judge chambers and offices.
“It’s extremely overwhelming,” said Rock Island County Circuit Clerk Tammy Weikert.
Weikert was helping customers get to the right places on Monday morning.
“This has been two years in the making,” she continued. “We worked really hard designing our space, making sure that it was the best space available for the public, staff and court personnel that we serve.”
The paperless Circuit Clerk’s office is a prototype for the State of Illinois, featuring touch screens and more.
“Whatever needs that they have, we can guide them in the right direction,” Weikert continued. “We have a self-rep center, where people who want to represent themselves can research case date and get documents electronically filed.”
As some work continues on the building, it’s able to open to the public. While it is a new setting, it still features a friendly philosophy.
“It’s important to me that we offer good customer service,” she concluded. “Point them in the right direction. Give them the assistance they need when they’re trying to navigate the court system.”