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Injured chicken gets wheelchair at sanctuary

WQAD News -

LUTHER, Okla. - We've seen dogs in wheelchairs, but what about a chicken? It may seem odd, extreme or even a bit funny to some, but an Oklahoma farm sanctuary said the story of how she got there points to a bigger problem.

Though the story is a bit unusual, so are the stories of most of the animals at Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary.

You may remember Milo, the puppy born with upside down paws whose story spread across social media a few months ago. After a successful surgery, his story was shared around the world.

"We saved a puppy, and we were heroes," Jennie Hays of Oliver and Friends Farm Rescue and Sanctuary, told KFOR. "We save a chicken, and maybe people think that we're nuts. But, that's okay."

Yes, it may be a bit odd, but Hays and her team are determined to save the bird named "Colorado." It's a name that comes with a story. That's where Hays said the Cornish hen was rescued from a defunct factory farm.

"There were - I think it was 13,000 chickens that needed to find a place to go," Hays said.

Oliver and Friends took in 25 very sick chickens with the help of a Colorado animal sanctuary named "Luvin Arms."

Though it may be hard to believe, Colorado and her friends are only a few months old. They're bred to be big.

"It's all about production, so the faster they grow, the bigger they grow," Hays said.

Colorado's legs could no longer support her.

Hays considered euthanasia. That is, until her husband got on Google, saw a chicken in a wheelchair and started building.

"So, ever since she got the wheelchair, her sparkle's back," Hays said.

They are now focused on keeping all the chickens at a healthy weight through exercise and a diet of low fat feed and fresh greens - a chicken salad, if you will.

"We honestly believe here at Oliver and Friends that every animal deserves the chance to live their best life as pain-free as possible," Hays said.

Hays said it's not clear yet if the other birds will end up needing wheelchairs too. They are hoping diet and exercise will keep them on their feet.

Mom on popular YouTube show accused of pepper-spraying her kids when they flubbed their lines

WQAD News -

(CNN) — The “Fantastic Adventures” YouTube channel has racked up more than 250 million views with its adorable cast of seven adopted children, silly topics and charmingly low-fi visual effects.

Behind the scenes, though, the children told a different story. A welfare check last week found the home was a den of abuse in which their mother would withhold food and water for days at a time, pepper-spray them, force them to take ice baths and lock them in a barren closet, according to a statement of probable cause in Maricopa, Arizona.

“They stated they are disciplined in the manners above if they do not recall their lines or do not participate (in the videos) as they are directed to,” the probable cause statement said.

“They further stated this is one of the reasons their mom took them out of school so they can keep filming their series and they mentioned they have not been in school for years.”

Police on Friday arrested their mother, Machelle Hackney, 48, on two counts of molestation of a child, seven counts of child abuse, five counts of child neglect and five counts of unlawful imprisonment.

Her adult sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, also were arrested Friday. They face seven charges each. They are accused of failing to report the abuse of a minor.

The three are being held without bond. A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said they did not yet have an attorney.

In the police report, Hackney said the closet in her room is never used for punishment, and denied the accusations involving pepper spray and ice baths. She said the only forms of punishment she uses are having to stand in the corner, spankings and being grounded, the statement said.

Ryan Hackney invoked his Miranda rights, but Logan Hackney spoke to police and said the children were locked in the closet, pepper sprayed, and forced to take ice baths, the statement said.

What a welfare check found

Hackney’s YouTube channel posts a new video about once a week and boasts nearly 800,000 subscribers. With titles like “The FLOOR IS LAVA!” and “Escape The Babysitter!” each of the 10- to 15-minute episodes features the family of cute children in lightsaber battles, turning into superheroes or attempting to steal cookies.

The statement of probable cause details a visit that welfare officers made to the home on March 13 after getting a tip from an adult daughter, who said one of the children said they were being abused.

During the welfare check, one child was found in an unlocked closet, which has a locking mechanism, wearing only a pull-up diaper, the statement said, adding that the other six children appeared to be malnourished. It said they had pale complexions, dark rings under their eyes, were underweight and they said they were thirsty and hungry.

According to the probable cause statement, one of the children drank three 16-ounce bottles of water within 20 minutes and said he had been pepper sprayed numerous times as punishment by his mother. Another child said she was extremely hungry and was given a bag of chips on the scene. However, she was afraid to eat the chips because she didn’t want her mother to smell them on her breath, the statement said.

The Department of Child Safety then removed the seven children from their mother’s custody.

A search of the home found two cans of pepper spray in the mother’s room, and the closet in her bedroom had a deadbolt lock and a bare tile floor, the statement said.

In follow-up interviews, one child told of how they were kept locked in a closet for days at a time with no food, water or restroom. They also were pepper sprayed all over their face and body, spanked, forced to take ice baths, and forced to stand in the corner with their arms raised for several hours at a time, the statement said.

“I either get beat with a hanger or belt” “or a brush,” one child said, “or get pepper sprayed from head to toe,” according to the statement.

The child also said his mother would pinch the tip of his penis with her fingernails until it would bleed. Another child said she had been pepper sprayed on her vagina and recalled being in pain for four to five days, the statement said.

YouTube confirmed the channel was demonetized once the company was made aware of the arrest.

Jurors say Roundup contributed to a 2nd man’s cancer. Now thousands more cases against Monsanto await

WQAD News -

(CNN) — A federal jury dealt a huge blow to Monsanto, saying its popular weedkiller Roundup was a substantial factor in causing a California man’s cancer.

It’s the second time in eight months that a jury has reached such a decision.

But Edwin Hardeman’s case against Monsanto is the first to be tried in federal court. And thousands of similar cases are still pending at the federal or state level.

“We are very pleased that the jury unanimously held that the Roundup caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” Hardeman’s attorney Jennifer Moore said.

“It was a hard, long-fought battle against Monsanto. And for Mr. Hardeman to have his day in court and to show that Roundup does cause cancer.”

But this trial isn’t over yet. While the first phase focused on whether Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer, the second phase — which begins Wednesday — focuses on whether Monsanto is liable.

Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, insists that glyphosate — the key ingredient in Roundup — is safe.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” Bayer said in a statement.

“We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”

Bayer said the jury’s verdict Tuesday “has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.”

Another cancer patient was awarded $78 million

It’s unclear how much the jury might award Hardeman in damages, if anything at all.

But last August, in the first state trial over whether Roundup can cause cancer, California jurors awarded former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

A judge later reduced the total award to $78 million. But Johnson’s attorney Timothy LItzenburg said his client has not seen much of it because Monsanto is appealing.

Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because doctors said he was near death. And in California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials.

Litzenburg said he and other attorneys have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.

One advantage of filing in state court rather than federal court is that state courts often produce outcomes faster — which can be critical for terminally ill patients.

But Hardeman’s case is in federal multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

MDL is similar to a class-action lawsuit because it consolidates pre-trial proceedings when there are multiple plaintiffs, for the sake of efficiency.

But unlike a class-action lawsuit, each case within MDL gets its own trial — with its own outcome.

In other words, one MDL plaintiff might get a large settlement, while another plaintiff might get nothing.

The heated debate over glyphosate

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who used Roundup started suing Monsanto by the hundreds after a World Health Organization report suggested glyphosate might cause cancer.

The 2015 report, by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, said glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

But Monsanto has long maintained that Roundup does not cause cancer, and said the IARC report is greatly outnumbered by studies saying glyphosate is safe.

“More than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer,” Monsanto Vice President of Strategy Scott Partridge said in August.

He highlighted the Agricultural Health Study, which concerned the effects of glyphosate products on farmers from 1993 to 2013.

summary of that study said “no association was apparent between glyphosate and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).”

In most cases of lymphoma, the cause is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society.

Yet critics question whether Monsanto has had undue influence over regulators.

In a 2015 internal company email, a Monsanto executive wrote that an EPA official at the time offered to help quash another agency’s review of glyphosate, saying “If I can kill this I should get a medal.”

But a Monsanto spokeswoman said the company has never paid, given gifts to or done anything else to curry favor with anyone from the EPA.

While debate continues over whether glyphosate is safe, parts of the country are limiting or banning it, said the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

“Following the state court decision last year, we saw a huge uptick in local ordinances that would regulate the use of Roundup on playgrounds, schoolyards and public parks,” said PIRG’s Kara Cook-Schultz, who leads a campaign to ban Roundup.

“For example, the city of Miami just banned the use of glyphosate. With this decision [Tuesday], we expect to see the same explosion in awareness.”

Hundreds of hotel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online

WQAD News -

(CNN) — About 1,600 people have been secretly filmed in hotel rooms in South Korea, with the footage live-streamed online for paying customers to watch, police said Wednesday.

Two men have been arrested and another pair investigated in connection with the scandal, which involved 42 rooms in 30 accommodations in 10 cities around the country. Police said there was no indication the businesses were complicit in the scheme.

In South Korea, small hotels of the type involved in this case are generally referred to as motels or inns.

Cameras were hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets and hairdryer holders and the footage was streamed online, the Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement.

The site had more than 4,000 members, 97 of whom paid a $44.95 monthly fee to access extra features, such as the ability to replay certain live streams. Between November 2018 and this month, police said, the service brought in upward of $6,000.

“There was a similar case in the past where illegal cameras were (secretly installed) and were consistently and secretly watched, but this is the first time the police caught where videos were broadcast live on the internet,” police said.

South Korea has a serious problem with spy cameras and illicit filming. In 2017, more than 6,400 cases of illegal filming were reported to police, compared to around 2,400 in 2012.

Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul and other cities to protest against the practice and demand action, under the slogan “My Life is Not Your Porn.”

In response, Seoul launched a special squad of women inspectors who have been conducting regular inspections of the city’s 20,000 or so public toilets to search for spy cameras, though some critics have denounced the move as a superficial response to a societal issue.

Lee Ji-soo, a computer specialist who helps women scrub the web of images taken without their consent, told CNN last year her company had seen a surge in demand since the protests drew attention to the issue.

“The most common things that the clients are saying — and they are quite heartbreaking — are ‘I want to die’ or ‘I cannot leave my house.’ Especially the victims of spy cam or illegally taken videos say that when they encounter people on the street, they feel like they would be recognized,” she said.

In January, the co-owner of a South Korean revenge porn site was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $1.26 million. Soranet, which was shut down last year, was a popular site for uploading videos and photos taken using hidden and upskirt cameras.

Man crushed to death by bulldozer during police chase over 10 pot plants, lawsuit says

WQAD News -

The family of a Pennsylvania man killed after he fled a clearing where he was growing 10 pot plants fault state authorities for chasing him with equipment similar to “a military tank.”

Though his friend was arrested at the game preserve in Berks County on July 9, 2018, Gregory Longenecker, 51, took off into brush so thick even a tracking dog couldn’t get through, reports the Washington Post.

With a helicopter overhead, a state trooper boarded a bulldozer with a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, who’d been using the equipment when he’d spotted a car that didn’t belong.

Hours into cutting a trail, the pair found Longenecker dead. According to investigators, the suspect, who was found to have a “toxic level” of methadone and methamphetamine in his system, had crawled between the treads when the bulldozer briefly stopped. Its next move was to the left.

Practically every bone from his pelvis to his collarbone was crushed, lacerated, or broken, per a lawsuit filed Monday by family members, who doubt Longenecker hid beneath the machine.

They say the state trooper and Game Commission employee acted against “all common sense and respect for life.” Instead of utilizing machinery “with similar force and characteristics of a military tank,” troopers should’ve waited for Longenecker to emerge, or approached him later, as he wasn’t a threat to the public.

However, District Attorney John Adams argues the family would’ve been angry if Longenecker, who refused to surrender, had gotten injured after troopers left, per the AP.

The DA’s office ruled in August that the actions of state police “were reasonable and conducted in a safe manner,” though the ACLU disagrees.

(Read more Pennsylvania stories.)

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BMW stolen in Sterling could be tied to business burglary, police say

WQAD News -

STERLING, Illinois — Police are trying to track down a stolen car that may be tied to the report of a business burglary that happened in Sterling.

The car, a white BMW, was reported stolen around 8:20 a.m. on Friday, March 15, according to Detective Maggie Ellmaker with the Sterling Police Department.   It was stolen out of the 800 block of East 3rd Street, just a few blocks north of the Rock River.

Detective Ellmaker said the department was asking for help finding the BMW because they believe it’s connected to a burglary reported at a Sterling business that happened around the same time.

“We’re trying to locate the vehicle and hopefully that can give us a lead to the burglary,” said Detective Ellmaker.

The car was described as a white four-door BMW 335i series, said Detective Ellmaker.  She said the car has Police Memorial license plates with numbers AK49-IP.  The BMW has a Chicago Blackhawk’s sticker on the back windshield and a German Shepherd sticker on the trunk.

The stolen vehicle is not involved with any rash of thefts, said Detective Ellmaker.   She mentioned that since it’s a higher-end vehicle, it could potentially stick out among the town.

More information on the business burglary was expected to be released in the coming days.

Elizabeth Warren backs plan to get rid of the Electoral College

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the first time on Monday night said that she would back a plan to do away with the Electoral College.

The process, she said, effectively disenfranchises voters in states dominated by one of the two parties.

“Come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi. They also don’t come to places like California or Massachusetts, because we’re not the battleground states,” Warren said at a CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi.

In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated President Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes in the popular vote by running up big leads in Democratic strongholds. But she narrowly lost swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which handed Trump a clear victory on the Electoral College map.

“My view is that every vote matters,” Warren said as the applause in Jackson began to build into an ovation, “and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College — and every vote counts.”

There are already efforts at the state level to diminish the effectiveness of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have signed on to a compact agreeing to assign their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of the outcomes in their states.

The states will make the switch once enough states have signed on to secure a cumulative 270 electoral votes. Currently California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia have signed on, totaling 181 electoral votes. New Mexico and Delaware are also considering legislation to join the interstate compact.

Colorado joined the group last week. If New Mexico and Delaware pass their own legislation it will move the compact eight votes closer to the 270-vote majority.

Although most states have winner-takes-all policies for their Electoral College votes, Maine and Nebraska split their electors proportionally based on the states’ popular votes.

Why the American Red Cross wants to install smoke alarms in your home

WQAD News -

In just a month's time, nine people in the Quad Cities area have died in fires, five of them were children.

In an effort to save lives like those, the American Red Cross is offering free smoke detectors for area families.

Wednesday, March 20 is "Sound The Alarm" registration day, where community members are invited to call 309-743-2166 x5 to sign up for free installation.

Read More: How you can get free smoke detectors installed in your home

The final supermoon of the year occurs as an asteroid zips close by

WQAD News -

(CNN) — The third and final supermoon of the year will light up the sky on March 20, closing out a trifecta of supermoons for 2019 that began in January.

March’s full moon also happens on the same day as the spring equinox, welcoming in the season. The last time these two things happened on the same day was March 1981.

The moon will appear brighter and bigger in the night sky and hopefully no clouds and inclement weather will obscure the view. The closest supermoon this year was in February.

No matter what timezone you’re in, look out for the supermoon at 9:43 pm ET on Wednesday. If you miss it, the Virtual Telescope Project will be sharing a live stream of the supermoon over the monuments of Rome.

March’s full moon is also known as the Full Worm Moon. Traditional and Native American names for each full moon of the year are derived by how they helped to track the seasons. In this case, the ground began to soften in March so that earthworms could appear, drawing more birds to feed, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. This moon is associated with spring for that reason.

The arrival of spring and the supermoon will also nearly coincide with an asteroid passing close to Earth, according to the Minor Planet Center. The asteroid, 2019 EA2, will zip by Earth at 190,246 miles away — closer than the moon. It’s 79 feet in diameter, slightly larger than the asteroid that streaked through the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013.

It’s an aten asteroid, or a near-Earth asteroid with an Earth-crossing orbit

But the asteroid is expected to pass by safely and without incident on March 21 and 22, depending on where you live.

Several dry days ahead before the next rain chance returns

WQAD News -

Flood warnings continue along several area rivers including the Mississippi and Rock. Crests are occurring now and will continue this week. Be prepared for road closures and detours in these areas.  Second crest still on track for parts of the Mississippi River by the Sunday-Monday time period. For more information on river levels go to https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=DVN

The light rainfall we experienced early this morning will give way to some brief breaks in the clouds later this afternoon.  That should be enough to climb temperatures just over the 50 degree mark for daytime highs.

After a few broken clouds overnight, more sunshine returns Thursday and will remain so right through the first half of the weekend.  Lower 50s will be felt both Thursday and Friday with highs approaching 60 on Saturday.  Mark in down,  Saturday is your weekend’s best.

Our next weather system is still on track to arrive Sunday returning light rain chances that day. Colder air will follow pushing temperatures back down into the 40s both Monday and Tuesday for daytime highs.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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Shocking video: Officers catch children being tossed out of burning home

WQAD News -

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Four police officers who rushed to the scene of an apartment fire are being hailed for catching children dropped by their mother from a third-story window.

The officers arrived at the scene early Tuesday morning before firefighters.  Video shows the Des Moines officers calling up to the frantic mother and encouraging her to drop her three children.

One officer can be heard yelling over the sound of sirens, "I got 'em. Yup. Drop 'em!" The officers can then be seen catching children in their arms, including a crying baby, as fire erupts from a nearby window.

Police say the officers involved were Cole Johnson, Tyler Kelley, Casey Sanders and Craig Vasquez.

Fire Lt. Rick Thomas says none of children, officers or firefighters was injured. The fire cause is being investigated.

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