WQAD News

Lawyer alleges Ecuador spread lies about WikiLeaks founder

LONDON (AP) — A lawyer representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange alleged Sunday that Ecuador’s government has spread lies about his behavior inside its embassy in London, where Assange sought asylum in 2012.

The Latin American country has claimed Assange actions deteriorated before his arrest Thursday and included putting excrement on walls, leaving soiled laundry in the bathroom, and not properly looking after his cat.

Lawyer Jennifer Robinson told British TV network Sky News the Ecuadorian government is spreading alleged falsehoods to divert attention from its decision to revoke his asylum and allow his arrest at its British embassy,

“I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” Robinson said.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno ended Assange’s protected status after more than 6½ years and opened the way for his arrest there Thursday.

Moreno said Assange abused Ecuador’s goodwill, mistreated embassy staff and used his perch to try to interfere in other country’s political affairs.

Assange has had “a very difficult time” since Moreno took office in Ecuador in 2017, Robinson said.

Assange, who appeared much older when he emerged from the embassy than when before he sought refuge there in August 2012, is in custody at Belmarsh Prison in southeast London awaiting sentencing in Britain for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden as part of an investigation of a rape allegation. Sweden is considering reviving the investigation.

The United States also is seeking his extradition after charging him with conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer system, which could lead to competing extradition demands.

U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid would be expected to have the final say in which claim takes priority. More than 70 British legislators have urged Javid to give priority to a case involving rape allegations ahead of the U.S. request.

He would not be expected to enter a plea to the Department of Justice case unless he loses his extradition case and is brought to a courtroom in the United States.

Assange has denied the rape allegation, asserting the sex was consensual. He also has not formally responded to the U.S. conspiracy charge. His indictment was made public hours after his Thursday arrest, but Assange’s lawyers say he is a legitimate journalist whose prosecution would have a chilling effect.

The extradition court in Britain will not be judging the evidence against him, but will evaluate whether the crime he is accused of would be a crime in Britain.

Assange’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 2. In the meantime, he is expected to seek prison medical care for severe shoulder pain and dental problems, WikiLeaks has said.

Clinton Iowa road to be closed for construction

CLINTON, Iowa- Clinton has announced a road closure that may affect your commute.

They say that a sewer separation project will close the intersection of 4th Avenue South and South 8th Street from Tuesday, April 16 through Friday, April 19.

“Please use caution when traveling through a construction area.”

Clinton road closure

Ohio boy celebrates first birthday in hospital while waiting for heart transplant

CLEVELAND - A young boy who has been a patient at Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital for the past several months is waiting for a new heart, but Saturday he reached a major milestone at his home away from home.

He may not be your typical superhero, but Jaxxon Austin is currently in the fight of his life.

"It takes a really strong person to get through this as an adult, so I can only imagine as a child how much stronger it is because physically, he's the one going through all of it," said his mom, Jessica Austin.

Jessica said Jaxxon has been at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital since December, after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

"Where one of the coronaries or one of the vessels feeding his heart was connected improperly, so it was depriving his heart of the oxygen that it needed,” nurse practitioner Hannah Bostdorff explained.

At just 8 months old, Jaxxon underwent open heart surgery, but it was unsuccessful and followed by a stroke.

"The goal of the open heart surgery was obviously to fix his valve but ultimately, his heart was just too sick to heal itself," Austin said.

Jaxxon’s condition has put him at the top of the heart transplant recipient list.

Still hospitalized while waiting for a new heart, he reached a major milestone, celebrating his very first birthday, surrounded by his five siblings, friends and caregivers.

The theme of the party was superheroes. It brought balloons, toys, and smiles to the young boy who has touched so many at his home away from home.

"We always tell everybody, 'Jaxxon has family at home and now he's got a hospital family as well.' When you come up here, he's always happy always smiling. It's hard but being in the situation that we're in, I'm just grateful he's being taken care of the way he would at home too," Austin said.

Man accused of throwing 5-year-old off mall balcony went there to kill an adult, complaint says

MINNEAPOLIS – The man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy from the third floor of the famed Mall of America is now charged with attempted murder.

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors will ask for bail to be set at $2 million.

The gruesome case has stunned Minnesotans, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

“That a child, with his mother, at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone,” Freeman said. “We charged Mr. Aranda with the most severe crime that the evidence allowed.”

Witnesses said Aranda either pushed or threw the boy from the third level of the mall’s interior to the first-level floor, nearly 40 feet below.

Police said Aranda ran away, but was found in the mall’s transit station and arrested.

The boy, who has not been publicly identified, remains in critical condition, his family said in a statement through the Bloomington Police Department.

“The family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support from the community,” the statement said. “Please respect their great need and desire for privacy.”

Police: The suspect said he wanted to kill an adult

According to a criminal complaint, the boy and his mother were outside the Rain Forest Café when Aranda came up close to them.

The mother had never seen Aranda before, and she asked if she and her son should move.

Instead, Aranda picked up the boy and threw him over the railing, the complaint states.

Aranda told police he had come to the mall a day earlier intending to kill an adult, but that did not “work out,” according to the complaint.

So he returned Friday and chose the boy instead.

Aranda told police he knew what he was planning to do was wrong. He explained he had visited the mall for years, trying to speak to women there, but they rejected him. Aranda said that made him lash out.

Suspect had been banned from the mall

Court records show Aranda had been banned from the mall for about a year in mid-2015. He was convicted of two misdemeanors stemming from incidents there in 2015.

Aranda was charged in July 2015 with causing damage inside stores after he threw items off the upper level of the mall to the lower level, court records obtained by CNN affiliate WCCO show.

Three months later, he was accused of throwing glasses of ice water and tea at a woman in a restaurant at the mall after she refused to buy him food, the records show.

In that incident, he got into a scuffle with the manager of the restaurant, sending panicked diners fleeing, court records show.

Police have also encountered Aranda at a Minneapolis library. In August 2015, witnesses saw Aranda smashing computers at the library, causing about $5,000 in damage, according to a 2015 complaint.

Officers found him at a bus stop across the street and arrested him without incident.

In that case, Aranda told authorities he got “angry after he read something on the Facebook.” So he smashed five computers, screens and keyboards, court records show, citing a recorded statement.

“He said he has some anger issues and told the officer that it does not happen all the time,” the complaint states.

4 members of Davenport Civil Rights Commission get the boot

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Davenport Mayor Frank J Klipsch announced the “removal” of four members of its Civil Rights Commission.

“Pursuant to Iowa Code and the authority of the office of Mayor of the City of Davenport”- Mayor Klipsch

In a letter released Monday, April 15, The mayor announced the “unfortunate decision” to remove, Nicole Bribriesco-Ledger, Shylee Garrett, Judy Shawver,
and Benjamin Hahn from their positions on the Commission.

 

Nicole Bribriesco Ledger

Shylee Garrett

Judy Shawver

Ben Hahn

According to the mayor, this was the result of these members “refusing to respect State and local laws including refusing to recognize new commission members appointed and confirmed by Davenport’s elected officials.”

The mayor goes on to say the four members will be replaced “as soon as possible to join remaining commissioners Lee Gaston, Patricia Hardaway, and Randy Moore so that the important work of this commission can resume.”

The mayor finished by saying, four new commissioners will be presented for confirmation during an upcoming meeting of the Davenport City Council.

3-year-old girl found hiding under a bed after her father allegedly killed mother and two siblings

A Phoenix man killed four people, including his wife and two children, in a shooting rampage that started as a domestic dispute over allegations of an affair, police said.

The suspect, Austin Smith, 30, returned home from a bar Thursday night and confronted his wife over accusations that she had cheated on him, which she denied, according to CNN affiliate KNXV.

He then killed his wife and two daughters at the family home and drove to the apartment of the man he believed she was having an affair with, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department.

There, he fatally shot the man and injured two others, he said.

Police: One daughter survived

His wife, Dasia Patterson, 29, and their daughters Mayan Smith, 7, and Nasha Smith, 5, were found dead in the family’s home, police said.

His 3-year-old daughter was hiding under a bed when police arrived and was not injured, Thompson said. The suspect told police that he chose not to kill her because she “reminded him of himself,” the affiliate reported, citing court documents.

Police said the older daughter died of blunt force trauma, and the suspect told investigators that he allegedly killed her because she was crying.

Patterson’s relatives said they are devastated and struggling to come to terms with the loss.

“We are in anguish over the senseless loss of our beloved Dasia and her young children,” her family said in a statement.

“As we try to process our profound grief, our focus is on the welfare of her sole surviving 3-year-old daughter. She just lost her mother and sisters, and we want nothing more than for her to be with her family right now.”

A second crime scene

After killing his family, Smith drove to an apartment complex in Phoenix and fatally shot Ron Freeman, 46, whom he accused of having an affair with his wife, police said.

In addition to Freeman, he allegedly shot two other people at the home — a man and a woman — who have not been identified. The woman, 47, is in critical condition while the man, 33, suffered serious injuries.

Police received a call about the shooting at the apartment and found the suspect’s car fleeing the scene when they arrived, Thompson said.

“The car was stopped a short distance from the scene … and the suspect, Austin Smith was taken into custody without incident,” he added.

At the scene of the second shooting, one of the victims expressed concern for the suspect’s family. When officers did a welfare check on the suspect’s family, they found his deceased wife and two children.

During an interview with investigators at the Phoenix Police headquarters, the suspect said “the reason he shot these individuals is because in God’s eyes it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner,” Thompson said.

“He admitted to the crimes and said he believed his wife Dasia had cheated with Ron. Austin stated that God had told him to do the things he did,” he said.

Smith was booked into the Maricopa County Jail and charged with four counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

Information on his attorney was not immediately available.

‘Turkey of a lifetime!’: Hunter takes rare white bird in Tennessee

TENNESSEE – A hunter in Tennessee got the turkey of a lifetime.

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Cameron Bond took what’s called a ‘leucistic’ turkey in Rutherford County last week.

Leucism in birds is described as loss of pigmentation, according to TWRA. The bird’s beard was dark, and the back feathers still hold some color.

The turkey weighed 20 pounds, and its beard measured 9.5 inches.

Raising an intersex child: ‘This is your body. … There’s nothing to be ashamed of’

When Stephani Lohman got her first look at her newborn in the delivery room, she playfully hit her husband, Eric, on the arm. She made a flustered comment about how ultrasounds could get the sex of the child wrong.

The doctors in the Ontario hospital were silent. Eric knew that the situation was more serious than a mixup.

“I sort of looked around at that moment, and I saw what I would describe as panic on all of the medical staff’s faces,” Eric said.

They had expected their baby, Rosie, to be a girl, but her parents saw what seemed to be a penis. Eric remembered learning when he was getting his doctorate about babies born with genitalia that wasn’t typically male or female. He realized right away that Rosie was like those babies.

“I wanted the baby to be put on my chest right away, because I just had her, and I worked really hard for that moment, and they didn’t,” Stephani said, recalling that day in 2012. “And I was scared.”

The doctors covered Rosie with a blanket and took her across the room for what seemed like a long time, Eric said. When they returned, they offered what they knew: Rosie had atypical genitalia, and more tests were needed to determine whether she was genetically a girl or a boy and if she had a serious medical condition, Eric said the doctors told them.

“It basically went from very celebratory, very exciting, to very scary,” Eric said.

The next few days were filled with extensive tests and examinations until the doctors were finally able to make a diagnosis. Rosie had two X chromosomes, and so was considered to be female, they said, but she had salt-wasting congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a severe form of a condition called CAH for short. People with CAH are missing an enzyme that the adrenal glands need to produce cortisol. Rosie’s body is unable to retain enough sodium.

The adrenal glands also produce the initial ingredients of sex hormones, so when the brain gets signals that cortisol levels are low, it demands that the adrenal glands work harder. That leads to a higher production of sex hormone ingredients, which results in an excess of male hormones. Those hormones are what cause the formation of atypical genitalia in fetuses with two X chromosomes while they’re in utero.

Rosie’s condition is classified as a DSD, or differences or disorders of sex development, by many physicians. Some patients and parents of patients — including Eric and Stephani — dislike this classification. They prefer the term intersex.

Many conditions under the DSD/intersex umbrella could result in a variety of different physical sex characteristics on individuals, such as an enlarged clitoris or a micropenis.

Atypical genitalia does not always occur in patients with CAH, but when it does, doctors sometimes encourage plastic surgery.

Eric remembered learning about these operations as a student, and he was skeptical.

Stephani stayed in the hospital with Rosie, who was still being monitored, and began to research the surgeries. At home, Eric did the same. They familiarized themselves with the list of potential long-term risks, such as chronic pain, an inability to orgasm or eventual rejection of gender assignment. If the doctors proposed surgery, Eric wanted to say no. Stephani didn’t even anticipate that it would come up.

“My idea, because I was very naive about it, was that they would never recommend anything that wasn’t necessary right now,” Stephani said. “Like, they wouldn’t put a tiny baby under the knife for no reason. Can you imagine a world in which they’re just doing cosmetic surgeries on babies? I couldn’t even imagine that existed.”

An ‘easy’ fix

The surgical approach to CAH and other DSD/intersex conditions began in the 1960s, when doctors found ways to perform surgeries that reduced some of parents’ anxieties about their babies. The surgeries were intended to help patients conform more with the mainstream characteristics of one sex or the other. But sometimes, the outcomes of these surgeries didn’t align with patients’ eventual gender identities.

Over the years, some who had these surgeries grew to feel a misalignment between their sex and their gender, or felt that surgery had left them mutilated because their genitals lacked sexual sensation. This led to a wave of activism referred to as the intersex rights movement, with people speaking out and protesting medically unnecessary surgeries on children.

Today, these surgeries are starting to be viewed more as cosmetic procedures instead of emergency treatments, but they are still performed.

There’s legislative pushback from the intersex community too, most recently seen through a California bill, SB 201.

The bill would prohibit doctors from performing surgeries on minors with atypical genitalia unless the procedures are determined to be “medically necessary” or the child can provide informed consent beforehand. It is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco.

The California Medical Association has formally opposed the bill and wrote a letter of opposition to the state Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development.

“The bill makes an exception for any procedure or treatment that is deemed medically necessary, which is defined in such a way that cannot properly address the complexity of DSD cases and potentially endangers the physical and emotional health and future of the patient,” the letter stated.

In 2017, Human Rights Watch released a report on infant genital surgeries that are performed on babies with atypical genitalia, declaring it cruel and unnecessary. It provided detailed testimonials from individuals who had the surgeries and felt violated and damaged.

About 1 in 2,000 babies is born with genitalia different enough that doctors might recommend surgery, according to the report.

Tiger Devore, a Las Vegas-based clinical psychologist and advocate for people considered to be sexually different, said the rate of surgeries hasn’t really changed since the 1960s. A 2016 study in the Journal of Pediatric Urology found that of 37 babies with what researchers called “moderate-to-severe genital atypia” who were born after 2011, 35 were subject to genital surgery.

Devore was born in 1958 with hypospadias, a condition in which the urinary opening is on the underside of the penis instead of the tip. He had over 25 surgeries, many of them when he was a child. He describes them as painful and unnecessary.

“There are people who have grown up having these surgeries very early on in life. They’re making it very clear to the medical society that these surgeries don’t work, we don’t like the outcomes, this shouldn’t have been done to us as children,” Devore said. “It’s our genitalia, and we want to grow up with our own genitalia. Not the genitalia that our doctors thought was right, not the genitalia our parents thought was right. It’s our body.”

Surgeries are typically performed to treat the anxiety of the parents, which is not fair to the infant, he said.

The notion is that kids will have a better life because their genitals will look normal, but often that’s not the case, he said.

“If you do plastic surgery on the genitalia, you do not magically get normal male or female genitalia. We get intersex genitalia that has had plastic surgery done to it,” he said.

The parents’ decision to consent rests heavily on their education on the subject, he said.

“If they take a moment to do a little research, it can make a huge difference for the future of the child,” he said.

Feeling the pressure

Three days after Rosie was born, Eric and Stephani were invited to a meeting with specialists to discuss steps. They recall walking into a room with more than a dozen medical staff: pediatric gynecologists, geneticists, pediatric urologists, endocrinologists and a social worker.

“It was probably the most intimidating room I’ve ever been in,” Eric said.

Rosie’s parents said a pediatric urologist presented them with two options only: They could reduce the size of Rosie’s clitoris and create a vaginal canal, or solely do the vaginal canal surgery.

He recommended that Rosie have both procedures done simultaneously at about 6 months old, and preferably not much later than that. The argument was that the younger Rosie was, the faster she would heal, and she wouldn’t have to experience looking physically different from other children.

After thorough research, Rosie’s parents knew that they didn’t want either procedure.

To their dismay, not having any surgery was never presented to them as a possibility, Eric said. And when he brought it up, the doctor said that was a choice he wouldn’t recommend, due to the risk that Rosie might eventually experience psychological trauma from not looking like other girls.

The rest of the staff stayed silent, Stephani said.

“It would have been nice to think that we had one ally in there, but we didn’t,” Stephani said.

The doctor’s sentiment was that if Rosie looked normal, she would feel better about herself. Eric and Stephani felt there was nothing wrong with appearing different, and if there was going to be a surgery, Rosie deserved a choice in the matter. They remained adamant about not consenting to the surgeries.

Meanwhile, the couple was advised by the social worker to be careful when explaining Rosie’s condition to other people, including her older brother and sister.

David Sandberg, a psychologist at University of Michigan who provides clinical services to children with DSD/intersex conditions and their families, said his first step when dealing with families who have a newborn with one of these conditions is to help them figure out the best way to share the information with people they trust.

“The story doesn’t have to be all the details. But there should be nothing that would be considered a lie in retrospect,” said Sandberg, who was not involved in Rosie’s care. “It could be a partial story. It could be less technical. But it has to be based in truth. Because once you go down the road of telling a non-truth, then it’s very difficult to extricate yourself from that.”

The Lohmans continued to feel pressured by their pediatric urologist to consider surgery, even as Rosie approached her first birthday. After putting their foot down and saying they wouldn’t consent, the same pediatric urologist waved them away, Eric said, as if to say they would be back within a few years. (The pediatric urologist declined to comment for this story.)

It’s been years since that appointment, and they still haven’t returned.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, its guidelines about atypical genitalia are being reviewed.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees it’s important that a child’s medical team and parents engage in open, transparent conversations so that parents fully understand their child’s condition and the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment, as well as alternatives, such as delaying surgery,” the organization said in a statement.

Dr. Veronica Gomez-Lobo, director of pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, said she agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement and the further goals it states of “helping children to have a happy and healthy life.”

Gomez-Lobo has worked with many families at the PROUD Clinic, which provides specialized diagnostic, evaluation and treatment services for children with complex diseases, including those that result in atypical genitalia. When an infant is born with one of these conditions, the first priority at the clinic is allowing parents to form a relationship with their child, she said.

“We don’t even need to see these children until they’ve bonded with the parents, and so we don’t even see them for an evaluation until about a month after they’re born,” she said.

For patients with CAH, clinic workers first make sure that all of the medical needs are being addressed and treated, Gomez-Lobo said. After that is taken care of, they inform parents of the benefits and risks of genital surgeries, and they now mention the Human Rights Watch report, she said.

“We don’t know whether making a clitoris smaller has any benefit,” she said. “Whether that’s going to make the child grow up with a better self-image or something like that, nobody has evaluated that. But there is some literature that supports that maybe doing clitoral surgery may reduce the sensation, and it depends on how it’s done and a lot of different reasons.”

Out in the open

After Rosie’s diagnosis, the Lohmans spent a lot of time at home and were open about Rosie’s condition only to family.

“Pretty soon, I started to feel like that was wrong,” Stephani said.

When they began to feel nervous about hiring babysitters who would have to change Rosie’s diapers, they decided to share the secret.

“I was like, ‘this is ridiculous. This is just making it shameful. Sometimes, I don’t feel like we’re doing her a favor,’ ” Stephani said. “We had the thought that we are contributing to this culture of shame. We’re perpetuating what exactly it is we’re trying to avoid.”

Rosie was 18 months old when they stopped hiding her condition and were frank about it with friends and others outside the family, Stephani said. At age 4, Rosie was featured in the documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” now available on Netflix.

The family now lives in Milwaukee. Eric is on the board of directors of interACT, an organization dedicated to raising the visibility of intersex children and fighting for laws protecting intersex youth against surgeries.

Recently, they brought Rosie to a protest at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where they called on the facility to end the practice of medically unnecessary infant genital surgeries. In July, Eric and Stephani released a book about their experience raising an intersex child, “Raising Rosie.”

And in August, Eric flew to California to testify before the state’s Committee on Health in favor of a resolution that condemned unnecessary surgery on children with intersex conditions. Weeks later, the resolution passed, making California the first state to denounce such surgeries. The resolution was introduced by Wiener, who sponsored the bill that would prohibit some of these surgeries.

Outing Rosie as intersex to the public has been the most troubling decision for the Lohmans, Eric said. Eric and Stephani have written a letter for Rosie to read when she is old enough, explaining how they came to the decision to speak out about her condition. They hope she’ll understand. Until then, they are focused on making her as comfortable with her body as possible. As she gets older, they plan to prepare her for how to deal with addressing her condition in front of her peers and choosing when to be private.

“If the time comes and we’re like, ‘OK, now she’s gonna have a sleepover,’ we’ll say, ‘well, we want you to know that this is your body, and you should feel comfortable talking about it, and you don’t have to show anybody your body, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of,’ ” Eric said.

The risks of surgery on a child with differences of sexual development are well-known, the University of Michigan’s Sandberg said, but the risks of avoiding surgery  — which is still rare  — are not clear. When he faces a family who wants to operate on their newborn with atypical genitalia or a family who is adamantly against it, he makes sure to warn them of the risks that could result from either decision. Because there’s very little published evidence on how the children who don’t have surgery do growing up, all he can do is speculate.

“Being different in some way doesn’t necessarily hurt you, but it is not an advantage,” Sandberg said. “And so one has to know something about the factors that make a child more vulnerable for being rejected or neglected by peers. And those would be things that in a gradual, developmentally appropriate way that I would tell some families. But I would sort of telegraph that early on. If I have any value at all to the family, it’s engaging them in a discussion that continues over time, as the child gets older. And then, over time, engaging the child in these conversations.”

On the other hand, Devore, the Las Vegas clinical psychologist, said he thinks there should be only one approach toward helping parents who have a child with one of these conditions.

“We feel strongly that people who are ob-gyns and other people who deliver babies need to be taught to say, ‘you have given birth to a healthy intersex child. Not just a male child. Not just a female child. Or a child that has problems. You have given birth to a healthy intersex child,’ ” he said. ” ‘Someday, that child may choose to have surgery or not. But the hospital will provide genetic counseling, neurologic counseling and psychological counseling so that your family can face this challenge in a healthy way and so that your child can be given the guidance to understand their difference.’ ”

Devore expects younger generations, as well as younger physicians, to be more open-minded about intersex conditions and variability of expression. The changing environment can be seen on college campuses, in the media and on Facebook, he said.

Intersex is a viable identity that shouldn’t be seen as unhealthy, he said. But it is just as important for individuals born with atypical genitalia to have the right to not be defined by that, either.

“If people have a sense of themselves as male or have a sense of themselves as female, no matter what their genitals look like, they get to identify that way,” he said. “And that’s the most basic point that we could have emphasized. It is the right of the individual to determine how they choose to identify. It is not the right of the parent. It is not the right of the physician or surgeon.”

Nothing out of the ordinary

Rosie is now 6 years old and has never had genital surgery. She has big green eyes and blonde hair that she prefers be kept short. Dresses are among her favorite things to wear. Her parents describe her as “intrepid” and “brave.”

“She wants a mohawk,” Eric said. “We try to tell her that having a mohawk is unpractical in Wisconsin because you have to wear a winter hat. But she wants short hair, so that’s what she has.”

“Rosie’s awesome. She’s a firecracker,” Stephani said.

They have told Rosie that her body is different from other people’s but that many people have differences in their bodies. “And that’s OK,” Eric said.

If Rosie ever expressed a desire to have a clitoral reduction, Eric said, they would begin the process by having her speak to a therapist, an intersex person who had surgery and an intersex person who has not had surgery.

“If that happens in a year, then we’ll start it in a year, and if it happens when she’s 16, then we’ll do it then,” he said.

They would urge her to wait until she’s a teen, at least, and until she has experienced sexual pleasure, because of the procedure’s potential effect on sexual sensations.

Rosie’s been taking medication for CAH since she was a baby. She now takes three pills a day to keep her cortisol and electrolyte levels balanced. Pills swallowed at 7:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. prevent her from going into adrenal crisis.

With this medical routine, Rosie’s health is stabilized. She’s beginning to learn how to take care of her condition independently and carries around a rescue kit in case she goes into adrenal crisis. But her parents are still concerned about what the future holds. Sicknesses and hospitalizations are inevitable with her condition, Eric said, and he’s nervous about the quality of her health care when she’s older — as well as the possibility of schools and jobs being unforgiving about her having to take time off.

Even though Rosie has been raised as a girl, it’s important to her parents to refer to her as intersex and to encourage gender fluidity. In other words, they don’t confine her gender expression to that of a boy or a girl.

Since Rosie identifies as a girl, her parents check off “female” under the sex category when filling out forms. She’s in first grade this year and has developed a group of core friends. She uses the girls’ bathroom and has yet to be confronted by other students about her body. But they are confident that with her type of personality, she’ll either not care or laugh about it, if anyone were to point out her differences.

Her teachers are aware of her condition and have been compassionate, he said. Parents in their community have also been accepting.

“As of right now, she’s very stable, and we have a very supportive network,” Eric said. “It’s almost as if nobody cares about the intersex part of her.”

Graphic video shows high school students viciously attack teen at taco shop

Warning: Viewers may find the video disturbing.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Police are investigating a video that shows a 16-year old boy being attacked by a group of high school students at a restaurant in Chula Vista.

The attack happened at the Cotixan restaurant located on East Palomar Street, according to KSWB. Video shows a swarm of teens punching, kicking and throwing chairs at the teen, even after he fell to the ground.

Fortunately, the boy suffered only minor injuries to his arm. "It still feels unreal," said the boy's father, Margarito Martin. The attack didn't seem like a "normal" high school fight: "I think that they were more of a gang or a mob that wanted to kill him."

Martin said he filed a police report with Chula Vista Police Department. Officers told FOX 5 that investigators are speaking with witnesses and looking at cellphone video for suspects.

After the disturbing video spread through the community, supporters scheduled a peaceful protest against bullying outside the restaurant for Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30 pm.

‘Significant’ gas leak reported at Moline Public Works

MOLINE, Illinois — A gas leak at the Moline Public Works Department prompted response from first responders Monday afternoon, April 15.

Emergency crews were on scene around 1:45 p.m. where officials confirmed there was a compressed natural gas leak.   A failure occurred while natural gas was being compressed at the facility.  That’s when officials say a “significant” gas leak started.

During the leak, the gas created a yellowish-looking flame, which some may have misconstrued for fire.  Officials confirmed there was no fire at the facility, located at 4th Avenue and 36th Street.

There was no evacuation at the facility, but the doors were temporarily closed to the public.

The natural gas they compress is used to fuel city buses and other city vehicles.  The vehicles needing fuel will be using an alternative location for the time being, but there will be no change to city busing or maintenance schedules.

The leak was under control and gas was shut off to the area.  There were no reported injuries.

Illinois Senate moves to lower mandatory school age

SPRINGFIELD (Illinios News Network) — Kids in Illinois would have to start kindergarten at 5-years-old under a plan moving ahead at the statehouse.

Illinois lawmakers are a step closer to lowering the age to start school.

The Illinois Senate last week approved a plan to lower the age to 5-years-old. Many parents start their children at age 6. Existing state law says kids have to be in school between ages 7 and 17.

Democrat Kim Lightford said lowering the school age will get kids a jump.

“It’s time for them not to wait until their 6-years-old to start school,” Lightford said at the statehouse last week. “If parents feel that their kids who turn 5 over the summer months, then they have the extra year to make sure their kids are ready.”

Critics, like Peoria Republican Chuck Weaver, said parents should decide when kids are ready for school, not the state.

“Parents are very concerned about the state taking the decision away from them,” Weaver said. “A lot of kids aren’t prepared to go to school at age 5. This makes that mandatory, it takes that [decision] away from parents.”

In addition to lowering the school age, the plan would require that every school district in the state start kindergarten classes for five-year-olds.

Illinois mother says her family was asked to leave movie after complaints about noises made by son with disabilities

LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. — A mother says she and her two boys were asked to leave a theater over the weekend after moviegoers complained her son with disabilities was making too much noise.

Jennifer Daly says it's not easy taking her two boys to the movies because her 3.5-year-old son Jonathan has a rare form of dwarfism and needs to be taken around in a wheelchair with medical equipment. While he can’t talk, Jonathan is very animated and can make some sounds.

Feeling up to the challenge Friday night, the three went and saw "Dumbo" in the AMC theater in Lake in the Hills. About an hour into the movie, Daly said Jonathan started laughing and making noises. She said ten minutes later, an AMC employee approached them and said there was a noise complaint of a baby crying, and they were asked to leave the theater.

Daly said she was in shock and, as she started processing what happened, broke down in tears.

"I was angry, I couldn’t believe I was getting kicked out of a movie. I’ve never been kicked out of anything in 43 years," Daly said.

In an emailed statement, AMC Theaters Director of Corporate Communications Ryan Noonan said a manager received multiple complaints about an "ongoing disruption" during the film, and after observing the issue, spoke with Daly.

"To ensure a quality moviegoing experience for everyone, disruptive behavior is not permitted during a movie," the statement said.

According to Noonan, Daly was given a refund and declined "several options," including moving them to different seats, a private show, or a screening during a "sensory friendly" movie program, which waives their normal rules on disruptive behavior.

Jennifer acknowledged the manager at the AMC tried to make it up to her by offering movie vouchers, but said at that point she was just ready to go home.

"I can’t say that I felt like I was being discriminated against, I don’t think that was the lady's intention," Daly said.

She said she didn't want it to happen again, so the next day she turned to Facebook to tell her story, and the post began to go viral.

"I don’t want anything from them, all I want is for them to train their staff better, I want people to be aware that we have to be more kind to each other and put ourselves in each other’s situations once in awhile, and remember to be kinder to each other before jumping to some conclusions," Daly said.

Pentagon’s revised transgender military policy goes into effect

(CNN) — The Pentagon’s controversial policy banning transgender recruits from joining the military went into effect on Friday, April 12.

The Pentagon says the new policy does not affect transgender troops currently serving in the armed forces, a contention that’s strongly denied by advocates, who point to the potential for discrimination and harassment.

The ban blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from joining. Transgender individuals can serve, but only if they meet the standards of the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Pentagon says the policy doesn’t block transgender individuals from service, but advocates say it is designed to operate as a comprehensive ban on their presence. Current military leaders have testified to Congress that transgender troops have not affected cohesion, while retired military leaders have decried the policy as misguided and damaging.

“It’s a bigoted policy. It has not one shred of evidence behind it,” Ray Mabus, a former secretary of the Navy, told CNN.

“In fact, all the evidence goes the other way. It goes against the basic American notion that it should be about what you can do and not who you are. … To do this to patriots who are willing to serve — not only willing, but eager to serve, who have raised their hands and said send me — weakens our democracy and seriously weakens our military.”

Anthony Kurta, a Pentagon official acting for the deputy under secretary of personnel and readiness, told reporters Friday that “the department will continue to treat all individuals with dignity and respect, and every service member is able to express their gender identity. DOD will take no action solely based on gender identity.”

The policy, signaled when President Donald Trump tweeted a call for a blanket ban in 2017, still faces lower court challenges, but the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 January order that it could go forward. The justices took no stand on the legality of the ban.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a think thank that researches gender and the military, said that “the policy stigmatizes all trans people. … The way the policy will play out on the ground — this will be a green light to commanders who are transphobic,” putting the estimated 14,700 trans members of the military at a disadvantage and forcing many to stay in the closet.

Most Americans oppose the policy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

That poll found 70% believe transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military. The only listed group that disagreed were Republicans, with 50% saying they shouldn’t be allowed and 40% in favor.

Most transgender persons are now disqualified from military service, except:

• Service members who have been stable for three years in their biological sex prior to joining the military — meaning 36 months after surgery and after ending hormone treatments.

• Service members diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” after joining the military can stay in the military if they don’t require a change of gender and remain deployable. Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which the person identifies, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

• Service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the effective date of the policy can still serve and receive medical treatment.

• Transgender persons without a gender dysphoria diagnosis or history can serve in their birth sex.

The Defense Department can issue waivers on a case-by-case basis.

Kurda said Friday that the policy originated in 2017 when “service leadership” approached then-Defense Secretary James Mattis and “expressed some readiness reservations.”

Over a series of hearings by the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2018, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, now a Democratic presidential candidate, asked the chiefs of staff of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force about the issue of transgender troops.

All four said they saw no negative effects from transgender personnel serving.

“I have received precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale and all those sorts of things,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said at one of the hearings.

Mabus said the case being made against transgender troops has been recycled several times through history.

“The same arguments are used every time we expand who can serve,” he said. “It affects unit cohesion, it is too costly, it is too disruptive. That was the argument used against integrating the armed forces in the 1940s. Those same arguments were used against recruiting large numbers of women in the ’80s. The same arguments were used during the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ” — the policy on gay service members — “and on the opening of all ground combat positions to women.”

“And every single time those reasons have been bogus,” Mabus said. “Every time. Just like they’re bogus today.”

The House of Representatives passed a resolution last month expressing opposition to the Trump administration’s ban.

The resolution “strongly opposes President Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender members of the Armed Forces,” and “rejects the flawed scientific and medical claims upon which it is based.”

The vote was 238-185, and five Republicans voted with Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Trump administration’s ban “an act of cruelty” in a speech on the House floor and said that “the men and women who step forward to serve in the US military are patriots, all of them.”

“The House will continue to fight this discriminatory action, which has no place in our country,” the California Democrat said. “We will never allow hate and prejudice to dictate our national security.”

Spring warmth returning… comes with strong storm potential midweek

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

Some broken clouds pushing in from the west will lead to no worse than a passing sprinkle or two in isolated areas this afternoon.  Temperatures this afternoon will still get a nice bump with highs in the lower 50s.

These broken clouds are actually part of an approaching warm front that will give temperatures a good boost both Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the 70s.  This front will also deliver our next round of showers and thunderstorms as well.  The earliest comes Wednesday when the coverage is widely scattered before increasing that evening into Thursday.  The potential for strong to severe storms also looms in the forecast especially late Wednesday night.  However, the trend does show these storms arriving during its decaying stage with the main threat being hail and a good rush of wind from the storm.  We’ll be tracking it.

A few showers will linger on Thursday as the system slowly departs.  This period will also see temperatures cool down from the 60s on Thursday before giving way to a brisk and cool Friday with highs only in the lower 50s.

That takes us to Easter weekend and a good weekend it will be with sunshine returning and highs climbing from the 60s on Saturday to the lower 70s on Sunday.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire

PARIS – The iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire on April 15, police said, sending a plum of smoke high above the French city.

pic.twitter.com/WcfuXu19Mw

— Solveig Godeluck (@Solwii) April 15, 2019

The fire started at 6:50 p.m. according to the Paris Fire Department and was spreading quickly last they said.

The fire department says the fire does not look criminal and may be connected to recent restoration work on the church. Some videos appear to show scaffolding on the side of the building.

“Notre Dame Fire in progress,” police said on Twitter. “Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice.”

The medieval cathedral was completed in the 13th Century and today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol.

See photos of the fire’s progression in the gallery below.

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Iowa officials report 1st confirmed measles case since 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Health officials have reported the first confirmed Iowa case of measles since 2011.

The Iowa Public Health Department said Monday the person wasn't vaccinated and contracted measles while on a trip to Israel, where outbreaks have been reported.

Iowa officials are working with the infected person as well as with people he or she potentially exposed. The department says there's no indication of any threat to the general public.

U.S. officials say 90 measles cases were reported across the United States last week, and 555 cases have been reported in 20 states this year.

Measles symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash. It's highly contagious to the unvaccinated and can be fatal.

Lori Loughlin pleads not guilty in her first response to the college admissions scam

(CNN) — Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have pleaded not guilty to two conspiracy charges in the college admissions scandal, according to federal court filings entered Monday.

They also waived their right to appear in court for an arraignment on a money laundering charge, according to the signed documents.

Loughlin’s not guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering is her first substantive response in the case. Prosecutors say she and Giannulli paid $500,000 to a fake charity to get their two daughters accepted into the University of Southern California, falsely designating them as crew recruits.

The “Full House” actress is the highest-profile figure caught up in a scandal that has embroiled dozens of wealthy parents, college coaches and standardized test administrators. Prosecutors say some of the parents facilitated cheating on the SATs and ACTs on behalf of their children, and some parents bribed college coaches to smooth their children’s path into college.

Loughlin’s decision not to plead guilty in the case has already had significant legal repercussions.

The actress Felicity Huffman was among 13 parents who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud last week. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors said they will recommend incarceration at the “low end” of the sentencing range and will not bring further charges against her.

But those who did not plead guilty, including Loughlin and 15 other parents, were charged a day laterwith a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Legal experts said this is part of the prosecution’s “carrot and stick” approach intended to pressure defendants to plead guilty or face further charges.

The criminal complaint against Giannulli and Loughlin includes evidence from a cooperating witness, emails, bank records and a recorded phone call with each parent. Giannulli even sent Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, an “action picture” of each of his daughters on ergometers, the rowing machines, according to the criminal complaint.

Loughlin and Giannulli appeared in federal court in Boston two weeks ago, but they had not publicly indicated how they plan to plea until now. Each of the two charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The accusations have hampered the careers of Loughlin and her daughter Olivia Jade, a social media influencer. Loughlin was dropped by the Hallmark Channel and other brands in the wake of last month’s charges, and Sephora also ended a makeup partnership with Olivia Jade.

Bald eagles’ nest has an unusual parent combination

Tune into the live webcam of a bald eagles’ nest in Illinois, and you may see a rare sight: two dads and one mom tending three eaglets, reports the Washington Post.

The webcam is courtesy of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, and a post at Audubon explains just how unusual the situation is.

Males are typically territorial when it comes to breeding, making it highly unusual for two of them to wind up in such close proximity.

But not only have Valor I and Valor II done so, they’re cooperating with female Starr in parenting the chicks. More than cooperating, actually: Both are copulating with Starr.

It gets even more unusual: This is the second female the two males have shared a nest with—the first one, Hope, died a few years ago.

“Why and how the two males tolerate one another isn’t known, nor is the parentage of the chicks,” notes the Audubon post. “But the young are certainly benefitting from the extra set of eyes and talons keeping watch and taking care.”

A previous story at LiveScience on bald eagles’ mating habits notes that “triads” have been spotted before, but they have mostly involved one male and two females. (Read more bald eagle stories.)

Photos: How the I-74 Bridge project is coming along

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Drivers crossing the Interstate 74 Bridge between Illinois and Iowa get a first-hand look at the progress of the project from the road; but here are a few different angles of the work.

In late March of 2019, I-74 traffic was rerouted on the Illinois and Iowa side.  The purpose was so workers could start dismantling parts of the I-74 westbound lanes.  Click here to see how much progress was made in one week. 

The work is now in Phase 2; a phase which is expected to last into 2021.  Click here to see the construction schedule. 

Related: Flooding slows progress on I-74 Bridge project

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