Two 14-year-old Florida girls plotted to kill 9 people, police say

AVON PARK, Fla. – Two Florida middle school students are facing felony charges for conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping after their arrests on Wednesday, WFTS reports.

According to arrest records, an Avon Park Middle School teacher noticed the 14-year-old girls acting “hysterical” while looking for a folder. The teacher told authorities she heard one of the teenagers say, “I’m just going to tell them it’s a prank if they call me or if they find it.”

“It doesn’t matter if they thought it was a joke. It’s not a joke. There’s no joking about something like this. You don’t make a joke about killing people. It’s not a joke,” said Scott Dressel with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

The teacher found the folder and eight hand-written letters inside detailing the plans to kidnap and kill nine people, according to the records. The teacher notified the school resource deputy.

“I couldn’t imagine. She probably panicked and was scared, i would have been. I would have been out of my mind scared to see something like that, it’s just very sad,” said Ty King, a parent.

“Private info,” was written on the front of the folder. Along with, “Do not open,” and “Project 11/9.”

Records say the letters detailed how the teenagers would obtain guns to carry out the killings. They also went on to discuss transporting and disposing of the bodies, according to records.

“This is very sad. It’s troubling. You never know the thoughts running through the mind’s of kids” said King.

One of the letters was about the clothes the teenagers would wear, records state.

“NO NAILS,” it stated in part. “NO Hair Showing from the moment we put these clothes on…”

The teenagers were taken into custody and each face nine counts of criminal attempt to conspire capital felony (premeditated homicide), and three counts of criminal attempt to conspire third degree felony (kidnapping).

“This was a case where the system worked like it was supposed to, a teacher saw something that was suspicious, followed it up, found something and alerted the school authorities and the school resource deputy,” said Dressel.

The Deputy Superintendent for Highlands County Schools, Andrew Lethbridge, sent us the following statement:

“We would like to remind students (and everyone) that we are all held accountable for the information that we communicate. The SBHC takes threats very seriously and we work closely with the HCSO to investigate them. We have stressed the concept that if staff or students hear or see something that concerns them, to please share that information with someone that can do something about it. In this situation, we witnessed this concept in action. This enables us to be proactive and respond to situations prior to an incident taking place.”

The students’ mugshots and identities are being withheld due to their age.

Power line sparks Moline house fire

MOLINE, Illinois- Firefighters are still investigating a house fire, but believe it may have started with a power line.

Friday, April 19, around 11:30 a.m firefighters arrived at the 3700 block of 33rd ave in Moline.

When they arrived they found the top part of the house on fire.

Officials say the fire was under control in about half an hour and crews took another hour and a half to finish up at the scene.

They are still investigating the cause but say it may be related to the power line above the home touching the house.

No injuries were reported and the house had no one living in it at the time.

Damage is estimated at $15K.

Pink moon to illuminate Friday night’s sky

Moon gazers be ready! April’s full moon, known as the Pink Moon, is set to premiere Friday.

The moon will appear larger than average because it will be three days past perigee, the point in its orbit when it is nearest to Earth, according to Space.com.

Although the name suggests the moon will appear a certain color, that is not true. Instead the moon is named pink after the color of wild ground phlox, one of the early spring flowers. Native Americans named the moons so they could keep track of their harvesting schedule.

The moon might appear red or orange because of dust, haze, smoke or ash in the atmosphere.

The next full moon will be the Flower Moon on May 18.

Michigan woman gets doctors’ names tattooed on her after lifesaving treatment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A West Michigan woman has made huge strides in recovering after she was nearly decapitated in a car crash.

Lila DeLine was hit by someone going 60 miles per hour while pulling out of her driveway, causing her neck to snap and nearly decapitating her internally.

Doctors said her skull came off her spine and she nearly died.

"I was actually turning into my driveway and my husband heard me coming, and he said that he had gotten about halfway when this woman hit me. he knew enough to secure my neck and my head before moving me," DeLine said. "He kept me sitting up in a position where I could breath again, and that saved my life that day."

DeLine beat the odds and avoided paralysis. After several surgeries, she is learning how to talk, walk and swallow again, according to MLive.

The 36-year-old mother of two is back homeschooling her two daughters, making dinner for her family and doing chores.

Doctors said DeLine was taking steps less than a month after the crash.

While she may not be able to do everything she used to, she has finished her regular rehabilitation sessions at Mary Free Bed and continues her recovery at home.

DeLine credits her husband's quick response and of course the doctors with saving her life, even going as far as to get her doctor's names tattooed on her.

Genesis promotes patient education, advocacy to battle opioid addiction

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Genesis Health Systems has informative signs in place to make sure patients do not fall victim to addictive drugs.

Dr. Brittany Price, and other doctors at Genesis, deal with all types of pain.

"From chest pain and headaches to chronic pain, to falls, to injuries, to broken bones." Dr. Price said. "We can see anything."

But Dr. Price also sees the pain that comes with addiction. Now, Genesis is posting signs (right) in waiting areas and exam rooms to educate patients before they walk into the doctor's exam room.

Dr. Ryan Taylor is a physician at the Spine and Joints Clinic in Bettendorf.  Dealing with the most common sources of pain, Dr. Taylor has the option to prescribe his patients opioids. Almost always, he keeps the prescriptions short and temporary.

The signs list common names of opioids and encourages patients to ask questions like:

  • Am I at risk for addiction?
  • Will something else work?
  • How long will I be taking them?
  • Are you prescribing the lowest possible dose?
  • What's the plan to taper me off?

"It’s our job to educate our patients." Dr. Taylor said. Now, he hopes the new signs will make patients ask their own questions and take responsibility for their health.

Dr. Taylor said the patient-doctor relationship has changed.

"It's not a 'This is what you're going to take. I'm going to tell you how to do it.' It's 'Here are some options, and I want you to be educated about your options' and then we make a decision together," Dr. Taylor said.

"The patient is able to see if that is really something that would be helpful for them," Dr. Price said. "And participate in shared decision making. That I can offer options to them."

An open dialogue is crucial if doctors want to avoid the possibility of addiction.

"I think we're now starting to see over the last few years - as we've had this opioid problem - we're seeing that positive impact of awareness now," Dr. Taylor said.

‘House of horrors’: Turpin parents get 25 years to life as children speak publicly about abuse

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The couple who admitted to the torture and abuse of the majority of their 13 children who were held captive in a "house of horrors" in Southern California have been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison during an emotional court hearing Friday.

Louise Turpin and David Turpin are seen crying in court during their sentencing hearing on April 19, 2019. (Credit: Pool)

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 50, wept openly before the sentencing, wiping their eyes with tissues as some of their children spoke publicly for the first time about their ordeal. The victims discussed how they suffered at the hands of their parents, but also talked of their love for them regardless.

“My parents took my whole life from me but now I'm taking my life back,” one of the daughters said. “I’m a fighter and I’m strong.”

A son told the Riverside court, "I cannot describe in words what we went through growing up. Sometimes I still have nightmares of things that happened, such as my siblings being chained up or getting beaten."

Nevertheless, he said he was doing well today and is in college working toward a software engineering degree and said he still loved his parents.

Another daughter recalled how the Perris couple, particularly her mother, became overwhelmed as the children grew older.

"I remember our mother sitting in her recliner and crying, saying she don't know what to do," the child wrote in a statement that was read in court. "She didn't want to use rope or chain, but she was afraid her children were taking in too much sugar and coffee.”

Some of the victims also expressed forgiveness to their parents.

David Turpin and Louise Turpin are seen appearing in court for their sentencing on April 19, 2019. (Credit: Pool)

One told the court that “they believed everything they did was to protect us,” and asked the judge for a lighter sentence.

After listening to her children speak, Louise Turpin read her own statement in court, crying as she apologized for inflicting years of abuse.

"I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt my children. I love my children so much," she said through tears. "I only want the best for them. Their happiness is very important to me."

David Turpin's statement had to be partially read by his attorney after he became overwhelmed with emotion early on while delivering it to the court.

"My homeschooling and discipline had good intentions," he said. "I'm sorry if I've done anything to cause them harm."

The Turpins pleaded guilty to 14 counts, including torture and child cruelty charges, back in February as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

In sentencing the couple, Judge Bernard Schwartz called their actions "selfish, cruel and inhumane."

An image obtained by CNN shows the Turpin family in matching T-shirts like characters "The Cat in the Hat."


Hestrin noted the sentence was also the maximum punishment the defendants could have received.

The couple pleaded guilty to counts including torture, false imprisonment, cruelty to an adult dependent and willful child cruelty. In exchange, they agreed to the maximum possible punishment.

The charged stemmed from a case of horrific abuse that was only discovered when the couple's 17-year-old daughter made a daring escape from the family's home in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road in January 2018, using a deactivated cellphone to dial 911 for help, authorities said.

The Perris home where the Turpin family lived is shown on Jan. 15, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

In the chilling call, a portion of which was played in court last year, the 17-year-old told the dispatcher that she and her siblings were being abused by their parents, and that some of her siblings were chained up.

"My parents are abusive. They abuse and my two little sisters right now are chained up," she said in the call, according to a recording that was obtained by ABC News and released Thursday. She said one of her brothers was also tied up.

When sheriff's deputies arrived at the single-story house, they were stunned at what they discovered.

Some of the girl's 12 siblings -- whose ages ranged from 2 to 29 years at the time -- were shackled to beds. The children appeared emaciated and filthy; their surroundings were described as "dark and foul-smelling."

The teen relayed the deplorable conditions she and her siblings were being held in, noting it was difficult to breathe amid the squalor.

"I can't breathe because of how dirty the house is," the girl said. "We don't take baths. I don't know if we need to go to the doctor."

This photo was posted to a Facebook page for "David-Louise Turpin" on July 10, 2016.

She struggled to recall her own address, explaining that she rarely got out of the house. The daughter later told authorities she had been hit, choked and sexually abused by her father.

The children reported being beaten and starved, subsisting on meager jalapeno baloney sandwiches while the parents feasted on things like Jersey Mike's, pizza and fries, a deputy testified.

Nearly all of the children were found to be severely malnourished; some of the older ones were so emaciated, first responders didn't realize initially that they were adults, according to authorities.

Only the youngest child, who was 2 at the time, did not appear starved and mistreated.

The plea agreement reached in the case ensured that each parent admitted to at least one count per child, prosecutors said in February.

It also spared the victims the pain of having to testify at a trial, ensuring they didn't relive the horror all over again. Jack Osborn, an attorney representing the adult Turpin children, told NBC's "Today" before the parents pleaded guilty that none of the victims were looking forward to that prospect.

Hestrin cited that consideration as part of the reason a deal was reached.

“We needed to determine whether proceeding to trial was worth having the victims testify in this case that has
received worldwide media attention,” he said in February. “We decided that the victims have endured enough torture and abuse."

"I personally met with the victims and, rest assured, they all are relieved to know this case has been resolved," Hestrin added.

‘Can you bring me McDonald’s?’: 5-year-old calls 911 for help with fast food craving

WYOMING, Mich. – A 5-year-old from Michigan made a memorable call to police after craving some fast food recently.

According to WZZM, Iziah Hall really wanted McDonad’s, but his grandma was still sleeping. So, the boy decided to call 911 to see if they could help.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Dispatcher: “Kent County 911 what’s your emergency?”
Iziah: “Can you bring me McDonald’s?”
Dispatcher: “I’m sorry what?”
Iziah: “Can you bring me McDonald’s?”
Dispatcher: “No I can’t bring you McDonald’s.”

From there, dispatchers reached out to Wyoming Police Officer Dan Patterson to see if he could go check on Iziah.

He was happy to oblige and even picked up some McDonald’s for him.

“I figured hey I’m driving past McDonald’s on my way there and I might as well get him something,” Patterson told WZZM.

It turns out, Iziah was using an old phone that was connected to the WiFi, which his grandma didn’t know could still be used to call 911.

Dispatcher Sara Uberski, who took the call, said it’s a good reminder for parents.

“We get a lot of people who are letting their kids play on their cellphones and a lot of them are deactivated and parents don’t realize they can still call 911,” Kuberski told WZZM.

Video shows man pull gun on Kewanee cop, it doesn’t end how you’d expect

KEWANEE, Illinois- A video posted on their Facebook page shows the moment a man pulls a gun on a Kewanee Police officer.

Police say around 11:45 pm on April 13th, 2019, they arrested Tyler J. Demuynck 29, of Bradford, Illinois for multiple weapons offenses after he pulled a firearm on a police officer during a suspicious activity complaint.

“No shots were fired by either Demuynck or the police officer. A loaded .380 caliber handgun was recovered from the scene.”

The cops showed up after a complaint of people switching license plates on cars at the Beck’s South Gas Station and the Royal Oaks Nursing Home, both located in Kewanee, Illinois.

“Sergeant Stephen Kijanowski spotted one of the suspect vehicles leaving the area. Sergeant Kijanowski was able to follow the vehicle as it pulled into a driveway in the 800 block of Willow Street in Kewanee. As Demuynck exited the vehicle, Sergeant Kijanowski initiated a consensual encounter to speak with him about the complaint. After approximately 24 seconds, the suspect quickly reaches into the front pocket of his sweatshirt and pulls out a loaded .380 caliber handgun. Sergeant Kijanowski pulled his service weapon in response. While pulling out the gun, the suspect ends up fumbling with the gun and it dropped to the ground.”

See the video for yourself below!

Parents warn others after 11-year-old suffers fatal reaction to toothpaste

WEST COVINA, Calif. – The parents of a Southern California girl who they say died of an allergic reaction to toothpaste containing milk are speaking out to warn others.

Parents Monique Altamirano and Jose Saldate, both 43, told Yahoo Lifestyle they had EpiPens and had always taken great care to  avoid anything that might trigger their daughter’s severe dairy allergy.

Vigilant about packing safe meals to take to birthday parties and reading the fine print on food labels, the parents said they had never seen milk in toothpaste before, and allowed her to use a medicated toothpaste prescribed by her dentist, MI Paste One.

“I did not think to look at the product ingredients,” Altamirano told Allergic Living. “She was just excited to have her special toothpaste.”

On April 4, Denise started brushing her teeth with the new toothpaste that was supposed to help her enamel, and she immediately began crying, her mother said.

Altamirano said her daughter’s lips were already turning blue when she got to her mother’s room, and, despite administering the EpiPen and an asthma inhaler, Denise was unable to breathe. Her mother, a former school bus driver, tried to revive her using chest compressions but the sixth grader died later that night after being rushed to the hospital.

What Denise’s family didn’t see was a small warning on the toothpaste tube about the ingredient Recaldent, a milk protein that bonds with the surface of teeth.

Now, Denise’s parents are urging other parents of children with allergies to “read everything.”

“Don’t get comfortable, just because you’ve been managing for several years,” Monique told Allergic Living. “You can’t get comfortable or be embarrassed or afraid to ask and ensure that ingredients are OK. Be that advocate for your child.”

A GoFundMe called Denise “a loving daughter, sister, cousin, niece, and friend with such an amazing personality” who had her own YouTube channel and “was a born leader.”

Memorial services are planned for April 26 and 27; guests are encouraged to wear bright colors “to celebrate Denise’s bright personality.”

Pennsylvania college inaugurates an African king as its president

MILLERSVILLE, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- It was a celebration fit for a king at one Pennsylvania college.

Not only is Dr. Daniel Wubah a king in Ghana, he has now been named the president of Millersville University, according to WPMT.

"In Ghana, I'm still a king, so my name there is Ana Ofosu Peko III," said Dr. Daniel Wubah, the Marauders' new president.

Not what you'd typically see at a university inauguration, but this isn't your typical university president.

"It doesn't happen very often," said Marth Pobee, Ghana's ambassador to the United Nations. "This is a very proud moment, very special we're here from New York, and the government, people of ghana need to know."

Other kings from Ghana came to witness this historic moment in Lancaster County.

"There's a national, hardworking, disciplined patriot who lives in America, contributes to American society, and has risen up the ranks to president of this wonderful university, and I think it's a story we need to tell," added Pobee.

Dr. Wubah tells WPMT he wants to have more students graduate in four years, increase fundraising for the university, and continue to develop new academic programs to lead students into their careers and higher education.

"I'm really looking forward to collaborating with the community to produce the best graduates we can for Millersville University," added Dr. Wubah.

North Carolina man wins $250K, plans to take 92-year-old grandmother on dream vacation

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Pack your bags, grandma!

An Asheville man has big plans after winning $250,000 on a scratch-off ticket, according to a news release.

Daniel Roberts stopped to pick up gas for his lawnmower at the George’s Mini Market in Asheville, where he works. It was his day off and a life-changing decision.

While he was there, he took a chance and bought a Hit $500 ticket for $5.

“I took it back to my truck to scratch it,” Roberts said. “I cranked on the AC because it was hot outside. I scratched the ticket and started shaking when I saw what I won.”

Roberts claimed his winnings Thursday, taking home $176,876 after taxes.

“My grandmother is my life,” Roberts said. “All she wants is to go somewhere pretty, so I’m going to make that happen.”

In addition to taking his family on a dream vacation, the man plans to fix up his home.

Roberts win was the last of Hit $500’s six top prizes. The lottery will now begin to end the game.

Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit to go on display 50 years after moon launch

After years of painstaking conservation, Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit will be shown this summer at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic moon mission.

It will go on display July 16, exactly 50 years after the launch of the Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins on the first manned lunar landing.

Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon July 20, 1969.

His spacesuit has not been on public view for 13 years.

The museum raised $719,779 in a 2015 Kickstarter campaign to conserve it and other artifacts from the space program.

They built a state-of-the-art display case and mannequin to protect the fragile suit.

The Smithsonian’s “Destination Moon” permanent gallery dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission is scheduled to open in 2022.

Until then, Armstrong’s suit will be seen alongside another aviation first – the 1903 Wright Flyer, which brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright used to ring in the aviation era.

‘I am absolutely mortified’ Utah teacher loses job after assault caught on camera

UTAH COUNTY, Utah - The Utah County Sheriff's Office cited a physical education teacher at Rockwell Charter High School in Eagle Mountain Thursday morning after the sheriff's office said he assaulted a student in his class.

Anthony Robbie Chidester, 40, faces one count of child abuse. Surveillance video and student cellphone video show what unfolded in the gym and hallway.

In the video, Chidester is seen grabbing a 14-year old student, pushing the student against a wall, then throwing the student onto the floor. Others rush in and attempt to diffuse the situation.

Student Dillan Bunker, one of the victim's classmates, said it started when a girl in his PE class got a phone call.

"The teacher grabbed for the phone and elbowed her in the face," Bunker said. "[The student] thought it was on purpose, and he stood up and was like, 'Hey don't do that.'"

Bunker said the kids went on to play basketball. When they were putting the balls away, things escalated between Chidester and the student.

"He's dribbling the ball, right, and the teacher goes, 'Give it to me. And stop dribbling it,'" Bunker recounted. "[The student] goes, 'I'm putting it away, like you said.' And he goes, 'Stop dribbling it.' So [the student] puts it in the closet. And the teacher grabs him, flips him around, into like a little hallway aisle thing."

The videos, recorded at 9:10 in the morning, show what happened from that point, and as Bunker described: "The teacher grabbed him, slammed him against the wall. Then he picked [the student] up, slammed [the student] on the floor."

Other students ran to the hallway.

"The whole class is trying to get [Chidester] off. Trying to help [the student], but the teacher just lost his cool and flipped out on [the student]," Bunker said.

Rockwell Charter High School said they fired Chidester, and gave statements to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Sergeant Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff's Office said Chidester admitted what he did and acknowledged it was inappropriate.

Cannon said the student was bruised and scraped in the incident, but otherwise physically OK.

Anthony Chidester sent Fox 13 the following statement Thursday evening:

I am absolutely mortified by this experience and truly sorry for my actions.  I am so sorry to the young man and his family and feel just gutted from this experience.  I allowed an incident of disrespect, bullying, teasing and insubordination from a student to escalate.  As an educator I have been bullied, I have been threaten with physical harm, told to F off on a daily basis, teased that I am powerless, told that I am worthless, had balls and weights thrown at me.  Students have touched my legs and pulled the hair out of my calves and filmed me while I taught and mocked me.  Again this in no way excuses my behavior, and I truly am sorry for my actions, but I don't think people realize the conditions that we have to teach in.  I am completely heart broken because have loved my opportunity to teach.

Recall of blood pressure drug losartan expanded

If you take blood pressure medicine, you’ll want to double-check your bottle. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has expanded its recall of losartan potassium and losartan potassium/hydrochlorothiazide tablets.

Tests found trace amounts of a potentially cancer-causing impurity called N-methylnitrosobutyric acid in some of these drugs. The company is recalling 36 additional lots, it said Thursday.

A full list of recalled drugs is available on the US Food and Drug Administration website.

The company hasn’t had any reports of users getting sick, but the impurity level in these pills is above what the FDA considers an acceptable daily intake level.

Doctors prescribe losartan for patients with high blood pressure and for Type 2 diabetics who have nephropathy. The FDA advises patients who take these drugs — even the ones that have been recalled — to continue taking them but to talk to their doctor or pharmacist immediately about alternative treatment.

This latest recall is related to the valsartan recall that has been expanded multiple times since July. The FDA put the Chinese company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical on an import alert after it learned that the company made the tainted ingredient that is at the heart of most of these recalls. The impurity is a chemical that is used in gasoline as a stabilizer and as a lubricant additive.

The FDA started testing all heart drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers for these impurities. Also known as ARBs, they block a potent chemical in the blood called angiotensin that causes muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract. When the chemical binds, it narrows the vessels, and that can cause high blood pressure.

It’s unclear exactly what the cancer risk is if you take the contaminated pills; the FDA believed that the risk was low with the valsartan recall.

It estimated that if 8,000 people took the highest dose of valsartan (320 milligrams) containing the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, from these recalled batches daily for four years, there may be one additional case of cancer over the total lifetimes. Many patients take a much lower dose of valsartan, and therefore their risks are theoretically much lower.

The FDA said it will continue to test all products containing valsartan and similar drugs for the presence of impurities.

Colorado girl, mother suing doctor for allegedly not treating infections properly

AURORA, Colo. - A 13-year-old girl and her mother claim the girl's urologist stopped seeing the girl when her care became too complicated.

Now, Abaigeal Holbrook and her mother Carrie are suing Children's Hospital Colorado and Dr. Duncan Wilcox.

In 2014, Dr. Wilcox implanted a device in Abaigeal's lower back to help her with bladder control issues caused by a disease called transverse myelitis.

The medical device is a miracle when it works, but it became a nightmare when it caused multiple infections over a 2-year period.

"It was really painful, to the point I could not really move," Abaigeal said.

The treatment forced her to  undergo multiple surgeries.

Her mother told reporters Dr. Wilcox failed to take her daughter's infections seriously and simply re-implanted the device instead of removing it and replacing it when the infections only got worse.

"It was summer and she couldn't go swimming because she had these open wounds and, you know, she just couldn't be a kid," Carrie said. "It was just two years of pure hell."

The Holbrook family hired attorney Matthew Haltzman, who told FOX31 the lawsuit is a case of medical abandonment.

"He (Dr. Wilcox) got in over his head and at that point, he wanted it to be somebody else's problem so as long as it wasn't his own," Haltzman said.

He said in the summer of 2016, Wilcox simply stopped returning Carrie's calls and refused to see her daughter anymore.

In addition, Haltzman said he recently learned that Abaigeal is the first and only patient Wilcox has ever implanted with an Interstim device.

"In reality, he didn't have any experience with this particular device," Haltzman said.

Eventually, Abaigeal had to be flown to Missouri to see a specialist, but she and her mother said it wasn't a referral provided by Dr. Wilcox or Children's Hospital Colorado.

"I think he just wanted out and there's a better way to do that than to leave her like that. There was a way better way to do that," Carrie said.

A spokeswoman for Children's Hospital Colorado said the hospital would not comment on pending litigation. Attorneys for Dr. Wilcox also said that due to pending litigation, they would have no comment.

The case is expected to go to trial in September.

New measure aims to help craft distillers in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — Craft distillers in the state have received good news from the Illinois House.

A measure recently approved would license them based on size, giving smaller distillers some advantages. The system is modeled on the way craft brewers and winemakers currently are treated in the state.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, was the lead sponsor of the bill in the House. He said the industry is small, but growing in Illinois.

“They run into some of the same challenges that start-up breweries had,” Demmer said. “How do you get that first start when you’re too small to have a brand name established? How do you get on store shelves? How do you get people to know about you?”

The bill would allow a license for small distillers to self-distribute some product and to sell directly to consumers from their facilities, which Demmer said could help build brand loyalty.

Here’s what Iowa is already doing.

“If you’ve got the facility where you actually do the distilling, you can invite people in there and get a lot of engagement from people,” Demmer said. “They can see how the process works in addition to being able to sample or buy the product. The self-distribution aspect really helps give people a reason to come to them.”

Distillers that produce less than 100,000 gallons of spirits each year also would have access to another license which would permit them to open a limited number of satellite locations, similar to brew pubs. Illinois currently has more than 30 federally licensed craft distilleries, including at least two in Demmer’s northern Illinois district.

“We’ve had a chance in Springfield to meet several of these craft distillers, and there’s more than you think,” Demmer said. “It’s pretty neat to see the business models they’ve been able to put together.”

Demmer gave credit to chief co-sponsor state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, for helping to shepherd the measure toward approval. He said it’s an example of pro-business legislation coming out of the House.

“I wish we had more of these,” Demmer said. “It’s good to see bipartisan support for something like this. It’s a positive step and hopefully something we can build some momentum out of.”

The measure, HB2675, now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Related: LeClaire distilling company unveils new ‘million dollar’ expansion plan

Mount Pleasant man arrested on drug charges

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa — Police arrested a man on several felony drug charges on April 19 as part of an ongoing drug investigation.

Dagan Whaley, 35, of Mount Pleasant, was charged with three counts of delivering meth, one count of possessing marijuana and four counts of a tax stamp violation. All these charges are felonies.

The arrest came after police executed a search warrant at 1918 W Courtland St.

Whaley is being held in the Henry County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Food stamps and online grocery shopping are about to mix for Iowans

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon and Walmart on Thursday kicked off a two-year government pilot program allowing low-income shoppers on government food assistance in New York to shop and pay for their groceries online for the first time.

ShopRite will join the two retailers on the program early next week, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The USDA has long required customers using electronic benefits transfer, or EBT, pay for their purchases at the actual time and place of sale. So the move marks the first time SNAP customers can pay for their groceries online.

ShopRite and Amazon are providing the service to the New York City area, and Walmart is providing the service online in upstate New York locations. The agency said the pilot will eventually expand to other areas of New York as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

The pilot program will test both online ordering and payment. SNAP participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items but will not be able to use SNAP to pay for service or delivery charges, the agency said.

“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients.”

Perdue said he will be monitoring how the pilot program increases food access and customer service, specifically for those who have trouble visiting physical stores.

Roughly 38 million individuals receive food stamps in the U.S., according to the USDA. Nearly $52 billion, or 82% of all food stamp dollars, were spent at big box stores and grocery chains in 2017, according to the most recent USDA data.

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to conduct and evaluate a pilot program for online purchasing prior to national implementation. The USDA says the move was intended to ensure online transactions are processed safely and securely.

Seattle-based Amazon said those who qualify don’t need to be Prime members to buy groceries with their benefits. They’ll get free access to its AmazonFresh service, which delivers meat, dairy and fresh produce to shoppers’ doorsteps. And they’ll also be able to use Prime Pantry, which delivers packaged goods like cereal and canned food.

However, they’ll need to spend over a certain amount to qualify for free shipping: $50 at AmazonFresh and $25 at Amazon.com. The online shopping giant launched a website, amazon.com/snap , where people can check if they qualify. Amazon said it’s working with the USDA to expand service to other parts of New York state.

Amazon.com Inc. was on the initial list for the government pilot program, and Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Inc. made the list later. The world’s largest retailer, however, in late 2017 had started allowing customers in limited locations to order items through its online grocery pickup service and then pay for it in person at the stores.

“Access to convenience and to quality, fresh groceries shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay,” Walmart said. “This pilot program is a great step forward, and we are eager to expand this to customers in other states where we already have a great online grocery.”

Walmart said that nearly 300 locations with grocery pickup in the states will be part of the USDA government program.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is breaking for some early users

(CNN) -- First there was Bendgate. Now there is ... Foldgate?

Several reporters with early access to Samsung's Galaxy Fold — a luxury foldable smartphone that turns into a tablet — say their new devices broke after just a few days of use.

Reviewer Mark Gurman from Bloomberg said his "review unit is completely broken and unusable after just two days in." In a series of tweets, he documented how his screen broke after he removed the protective film on the screen. Meanwhile, The Verge's Dieter Bohn called out a "small bulge" on what he said was a defective hinge.

Other reviewers have indicated a constant flickering screen. The reports unnerved investors, and Samsung shares finished 3% lower in Seoul on Thursday.

The company announced Wednesday that the Galaxy Fold had sold out on its website, though it declined to say how many phones had actually been sold. The smartphone will be available on AT&T and T-Mobile starting April 26. It's unclear as of now if the issues with the reviewers' devices could hurt ongoing pre-sales.

A Samsung spokesperson said in a statement that the company has received a few reports regarding Galaxy Fold devices provided to media outlets for review, and that it will "thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter."

The spokesperson also said some of the device reviewers "reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen."

"Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage," the spokesperson said. "We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers."

The Galaxy Fold is a 4.6 inch-smartphone that opens up into a 7.3-inch tablet. The device, which will cost $1,980, will run on Android 9.0 and be available in four colors (black, silver, green and blue).

Samsung announced the Galaxy Fold in February at its annual smartphone press event. Analysts and gadget lovers applauded the company for taking a risk in a smartphone market that seems to have plateaued in terms of both sales and innovative new features.

But any problems with the phone could pose a real problem for Samsung, which is still recovering from the debacle that was the Galaxy Note 7, millions of which had to be recalled due to reports of exploding batteries.

Samsung has a reputation for taking risks — it was one of the first companies to roll out larger-sized smartphones — but these efforts don't always work.

However, Ben Wood, research director of CCS Insight, said when the Fold was announced that a foldable could help Samsung stand out as an innovation leader.

"Unveiling a product ahead of rivals is an important milestone," Wood told CNN Business ahead of the launch event. "It feels like we're in the Stone Age when it comes to products with flexible screens. We're seeing the first very tentative steps toward the implementation of a technology that may seem to be a solution looking for a problem now, but is likely to become a pillar of designs of consumer electronic devices in the future."

Best Easter weekend in years on track… Rainfall to follow

Flood warnings continue along several area rivers including the Mississippi and Rock. Crests are occurring now and will continue for the rest of the month. Be prepared for road closures and detours in these areas. For more information on river levels go to https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=DVN

Sunshine has taken over the area and temperatures are responding quite nicely.  Combined with a consistent breeze out of the north and highs should top just over 60 degrees come later this afternoon.  This will lead to a chilly night with overnight lows around the mid 30s.

Warming is still on track for the Easter weekend with plenty of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday.  After seeing highs in the upper 60s on Saturday comes a boost in numbers on Eater Sunday with highs approaching the 80 degree mark. This will be the warmest Easter Sunday since the Easter of 2014 when the temperatures touched 82 degrees.

We’ll track on new system as we start the new week with scattered showers and a few embedded thunderstorms.  In the days to follow I’ve seen some signs plenty of broken cloudiness but no real significant chance for rainfall.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

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